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David Scott "mottdeterre" (Claremont, CA United States)
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Wendel All Together
Wendel All Together
by Howard Cruse
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 8.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Wendel Is Us, June 29 2001
This review is from: Wendel All Together (Paperback)
Howard Cruse's Wendel comic strip chronicled the adventures of Wendel, Ollie, Sterno, Deb, Tina and the rest of the gang in the Advocate Magazine during the 1980s - a decade on unequaled turbulence, triumph and tragedy for the gay and lesbian community. Seeing these strips together for the first time, I am struck by what an important legacy this represents. Cruse brings a face and heart to the central topics of the day. Creeping conservatism, outing and coming out, gay parenting, queer politics, bashing, gay normative behavior, AIDS, rifts in the community, the rise of the gym cult and homophobia in the media - it's all here.
His little community is our community, and he renders his characters' adventures with such loving care and compassion that you cannot help but be moved by and relate to their world. I always thought of Wendel as a "cute little strip," but this collection proves that it has the epic sweep, vision and, on occasion, even the gravity of an Angels in America or Tales of the City. And, as a portrait of the everyqueer, it runs circles around flashy fluff like Queer as Folk.
Wendel All Together isn't just one for the time capsule, however. Its insight, humor and drama remain fresh today. In many ways, only the shoes, hairstyles and AIDS meds have changed!

Essence
Essence
Price: CDN$ 11.89
42 used & new from CDN$ 2.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Love Is the Drug, June 12 2001
This review is from: Essence (Audio CD)
Lucinda joins with new producer Charlie Sexton (remember "Beat's So Lonely"?) to make good on the potential she's always held to rock-a-little. The result is an album that pleasantly reminds me of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at their roots-rockin' best. The songs are peppered with disturbing references to soured love and drug abuse - let's hope she's not getting autobiographical here - that deliver a lyrical grittiness to match the music. The biggest surprise is the gospel get-down of "Get Right With God;" it seems to be both serious and a send-up. Fans of the excellent Car Wheels will welcome "Bus to Baton Rouge," one of those evocative sense-memory songs that no one does better than Lucinda. It's an exception however; this time out Lucinda places stronger emphasis on music and overall vibe, with lyrics taking a backseat for much of this ride. She brings it all home for a strong ending with the hauntingly desolate and superbly wrought "Broken Butterflies." Essence is a solid effort, if not her finest.

Christgau's Consumer Guide:  Albums of the '90s
Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s
by Robert Christgau
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 3.52

3.0 out of 5 stars Half the joy, Feb. 28 2001
I kept wondering when Christgau would collapse under the weight of all those cds that were piling up, each screaming, "Grade me!" Looks like it was the '90s that did the dean in. His third consumer guide is frustratingly scattershot, a strange mix of informative reviews and pointless listings. (Honestly, Bob, we didn't need you to tell us that the latest offerings from Bill Clinton's brother, Susanna Hoffs or Sheila E sucked.) This is not to say that his pithy perfection doesn't rise from time to time in some reviews. However, since he now only expounds on stuff he likes (or doesn't like but finds significant), we don't get those brilliant zingers (although I'm sure Carly Simon and Lou Reed are breathing easier!). He does retain his penchant for missing some of the big ones while paying homage to artists who have out-lived their shelf dates. I'm still shaking my head over the fact that he doesn't even list one of the decade's best moments and defining albums - Everything But the Girl's Walking Wounded - and then actually praises Prince's Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic! But then, Christgau always was confounding, and that's half the joy. But half the joy is all we seem to get in the '90s Guide.

Boswell Sisters Collection, Vol. 3
Boswell Sisters Collection, Vol. 3
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 539.39
2 used & new from CDN$ 500.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Yowzah!, Feb. 27 2001
All three volumes of this package are first-rate, and this is the one to own if you can only own one becuase it has two of the sister's all-time classics: the mind-boggling "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing" and "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day." You can say what you want, but I say Connee, Vet and Martha invented rock 'n' roll.

Collection 2
Collection 2
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 36.82
4 used & new from CDN$ 36.82

4.0 out of 5 stars Great package!, Feb. 27 2001
This review is from: Collection 2 (Audio CD)
All three volumes of this collection are first-rate. The sound is the best I've heard on any of their releases. If you haven't heard the Sisters, do yourself a favor!

Hardest Part
Hardest Part
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 19.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 2.42

4.0 out of 5 stars The Absinthe of Tear-in-Your-Beer Albums, Jan. 25 2001
This review is from: Hardest Part (Audio CD)
On The Hardest Part, Allison Moorer is obsessed with pain; taking care to capture every nuance of its color, texture and value. The overall effect can overwhelm you (as it seems to have overwhelmed Moorer in the cover photo), but so strong are the craft and care given to the songwriting and musicianship that The Hardest Part transcends the heartbreak at its very core.
Note the ease with which Moorer simultaneously embraces and subverts the country music genre, effectively quoting from sources as disparate as Tammy Wynette and the Beatles -- in a single song no less (Send Down an Angel). Equally impressive is the way she manages to consistently hit a raw nerve while delivering an album that rewards intelligent, critical listening. The Hardest Part's centerpiece - the epic No Next Time - turns the idea of the boy/girl country duet on its ear while managing to build to an emotional climax that never fails to leave me stunned. Or check out the brilliant bridge on the album's only true up-tempo number, Think It Over. Moorer brings a screeching halt to the boot-scoot tempo so that a chorus of male back-ups singers can chant a litany of her lover's indiscretions while she offers some particularly pithy and savvy insight into why men cheat. You go, girl.
Finally, those who know anything about Moorer's past will surely be devastated by the "hidden" final track. I am a great admirer of Shelby Lynne's masterful I Am Shelby Lynne, but it's little sis Allison who offers an unflinching look at the tragedy that likely fuels both of their recent work.
This is a courageous and rewarding album from a major new talent. I can't wait to see what's next.

Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco
Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco
by Alan Jones
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 22.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Giving Disco Its Due, Jan. 23 2001
As a child of the '70s who was not disco shy back in the day, I thought I knew disco ... that is until I read an earlier edition of this book. The wonderful world of Eurodisco is at SNF's core, a world that remained quite underground in the U.S.A. Thus, this ain't the Bee Gees, folks (nor Disco Duck), and cover chanteuse Donna Summer is only a starting point.
If, like me, you thrill at the thought of discovering obscure musical delights, making new musical connections and exploring a secret scene that -- 30 years on -- has barely been uncovered, this book will rev your engines.
It also works overtime to dispel those pesky rumors that disco sucked; that it put musicians out of work; that it was homogenous, mindless, faceless; and that it is dead. The authors also do an admirable job of connecting disco genres to their various geographic and demographic sources, as well as connecting the music and movement to larger themes such as art, fashion, theory, lifestyle and even interior design.
The book is very particular to its authors and their biases (or, at least, personal histories), but that makes it a lively and thought-provoking read. Couple this book with the wonderful Last Night a Deejay Saved My Life, and you have a crash course in the secret music of the night!

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