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A Woman A Man Walked By

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Product Description

2009 collaboration from Alt-Rock favorite PJ Harvey and producer/composer John Parish. The album was recorded in Bristol and Dorset, and mixed by Flood. A Woman A Man Walked By has been described by journalist John Harris as 'mischievous, deadly serious, elegant and poetic, and possessed of a brutal power: it is doubtful that you will hear a record as brimming with creative brio and musical invention this year'. A Woman A Man Walked By is the follow up to Harvey and Parish's previous collaboration Dance Hall At Louse Point. An accomplished producer and composer, John has recorded numerous soundtracks and has worked with artists including Eels and Giant Sand as well as Harvey. 10 tracks. Island.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Ms. PJ Harvey is saying something. April 28 2009
By NUEVE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If I could describe this album with a word this one would be "attitude". Definitely PJ Harvey has always been recognized for being so real and pure musically and lyrically in every word she sings and every note she plays wheter it's with a guitar (Stories from the city, stories from the sea, 2000) or with a piano (White chalk, 2007). These days Ms. Harvey is careless about labels (as a matter of facts she has always been) but on this record she yells this out loud. She seems to explore textures and sounds she had stood by for quite a few years. I must admit that I'm not familiar with the work that John Parrish has done musically but definitely he helps PJ Harvey here to find herself on this record. I would say that the only track that is "radio-friendly" is the first one "Black hearted love" but this doesn't mean that the song is lacked of deepness and integrity. On the other hand songs like "April" and "A woman, a man walked by/the crow knows where all the little children go" are a work of art and the beauty of them is that Harvey and Parrish use simple elements to make with these a moment to remember. Fortunely, the rest of the songs are strong enough to stand on their own without the need of looking for a special element in them. Pj Harvey is a true poet and musician as well that is here (as in every album has always been) to let people know what music means for a woman that is in the music business WITHOUT caring about the business itself.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Love it or loathe it. But give it a chance ! April 5 2009
By jazzias - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
More than 12 years ago PJ Harvey and John Parish released "Dance Hall at Louse Point", and while "A Woman A Man Walked By" constitutes an improvement of sorts, few will be disappointed if their ongoing alliance suffers another hiatus of similar duration.
As before, Parish supplies the musical arrangements and Harvey the words, in that order - a division of labour which sometimes makes for an uncomfortable fit, as with "The Chair", a frantic, piano-led piece about drowning, and "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen", about playing hide-and-seek, in which the opening banjo strums are bulked out with organ as the search gets more frantic.
Each piece draws a new persona out of her. In the company of her old colleague and confidant, she abandons herself to a diverse collection of vocal personae. On "April", her glottal, nicotine-rough delivery appears to be a homage to that other West Country vocal stylist, Portishead's Beth Gibbons.
For the adolescent hide-and-seek scenario of "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen", she regresses to a breathless Celtic bawl.
"Pig Will Not", yelled through a megaphone, is built on her cacophonous howls of refusal - "I will not!" - over Parish's threshing drums
They sound like they are having a little more fun on this record, which Harvey has described as a transitional work, produced for kicks but crucial to her ongoing development as a musician. The results are far from throwaway, but there is the sense that "A Woman A Man Walked By" is a lucky bag of styles, tossed together without much thought for the cohesion that usually characterises Harvey's own albums, such as 2000's " Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea", and gives her something to rebel against for her next musical incarnation.
All in all, the results that makes A Woman Man Walks By such fun. From the childlike waltz of "Leaving California", to the cracked lo fi blues of "April", this is an album that challenges and cheers in equal measure.
"Together, Parish and Harvey sound confidently experimental, like two soldiers daring each other to ever more stupendous feats of bravery. Here's hoping this exploration continues to feed back into the work she produces under her own name, and that Parish gets his dues as one of Britain's most resourceful and imaginative studio craftsmen". -Rob Young.
Highlights: "Black Hearted Love", "A Man A Woman Walked By/The Crow Knows Where All The Little Children Go", "Leaving California".

Dance Hall at Louse Point
Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
White Chalk
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A Poet & A Musician. March 31 2009
By L.Grasslands - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Beautifully packaged in stunning white accompanied by the stark photography of Maria Mochnacz, PJ Harvey & John Parish's A Woman A Man Walked By is a collaboration Harvey needed to put her back at the top of her game. While her last 3 albums didn't quite have the same punch as her 90s material, this is just a wonderful, sardonic, expressive, mature and intelligent record. When looking through the sleeve notes what struck me was how much Harvey's words were pomes rather song lyrics, they seem to be presented as pomes on the sleeve notes, and read as pomes , So it's almost like Polly's beautifully, sincere poems set to John's music, and it works superbly. It is expressive, uncompromising, dramatic, and more luminous than her last couple of albums. Songs like the tile track and Pig Will Not are as vigorous and menacing as anything she wrote in her early days, and the Chair and Passionless, Pointless are beautifully luminous and intense. It's also the first time Polly really gets political (The Solider and Cracks In The Canvas) and the most intimate since Rid Of Me.

Officially this is very much a great collaboration of two like minded artists working in tandem, but for me, A Woman and A Man, is a PJ Harvey record, and one that is up there with her best work, kind of like the proper follow up the Is This Desire? I'm so happy to have the PJ Harvey I spent my teenage years idolizing back!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A phenomenal disk Feb. 10 2010
By L. Pruski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have all previous PJ Harvey's work and I like it a lot. But this album (co-authored by PJ and John Parish) is in an entirely different category. This is some of the very best music (and singing) I have heard in my entire life (50+). My review may be biased, because I do not like "nice" music. I puke hearing soothing music. I love aggressive, jarring, and provocative music. Some of my favorites are Bach, Coltrane, and Sonic Youth.

"Black Hearted Love" is a great rock anthem. Ranks among the very best of them. "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen" is a great song with a strange melody and rhythm, that is one of my favorites. The title song is phenomenal. After PJ screams out some obscenities in a wonderful fashion, there is some real music. Like *really real* music. Not just entertainment crap. Finally, "Pig Will Not". Oh my God, what a great song! PJ actually barks like a dog, and her barks are so haunting that I often wake up at night hearing her "Woof, woof".

Thank you, PJ and John Parish for phenomenal listening experience! I have listened to the album probably more than 40 times now.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
exfoliation is necessary to healthy skin Sept. 15 2009
By Stargrazer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
From the tenor of many of the reviews, I had braced myself for something abrasive and/or unlistenable. In other words, something I would probably like! The fickle commercial palate often acts like a dowsing stick for me, pointing the way toward someone's feverish creativity that is too rich or too astringent for mass consumption -- even if the mass in question is the diehard fans.

I've been following along with PJ Harvey since "Dry," and find her one of our time's most consistently exciting and interesting voices. While the Patti Smith comparisons I guess make sense in a culturally analogous way, Harvey has moved beyond Patti Smith in many ways. For a long time, I compared her to Neil Young -- fiercely prolific, unconcerned with merchandise, a bit too stark at times for even her own fans. Harvey seems to be shaking off this comparison too. This latest collaboration with John Parish, while not the disconnected and jagged noise that some of the more sensitive reviewers would have you believe, definitely falls into the uncompromising category. Yet in many ways it bears a delicacy that rings more true than the coy sonics of "White Chalk."

Those expecting an album full of polished Nick Cave-isms like the lead track "Black Hearted Love," replete with its imagery of rapture and murder and its darkly consistent rock guitars, are indeed setting themselves up for disappointment. However those expecting unlistenable song sketches are selling this bracing and creative album quite short. There is some real aggression here (the unfairly lambasted "Pig Will Not" could have been similar to "Black Hearted Love" if Harvey hadn't taken it in a resolutely unhinged direction with her distorted vocals and feral yelps, and the truculent title track with it's unabashed use of the F-word). There is also some real, unfiltered beauty here, and most points in between beauty and ugliness are at least visited.

My favorite since "Uh Huh Her." Those who give this a real chance will discover it's potent, dark power. I respect Harvey's willingness to slough off some of her more delicate fans -- after all, exfoliation is necessary to healthy skin.