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Mermaid Avenue Volume 2

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 30 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra Entertain.
  • ASIN: B00004TBES
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #41,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Airline To Heaven
2. My Flying Saucer
3. Feed Of Man
4. Hot Rod Hotel
5. I Was Born
6. Secrets Of The Sea
7. Stetson Kennedy
8. Remember The Mountain Bed
9. Blood Of The Lamb
10. Against The Law
11. All You Fascists Are Bound To Lose
12. Joe DiMaggio Done It Again
13. Meanest Man
14. Black Wind Blowing
15. Someday, Some Morning, Sometime

Product Description

Product Description

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Street Release Date: 05/30/2000

Who knew that after the undeniable, sometimes shimmering, sometimes rustic magic of Mermaid Avenue that there was enough quality material for a second volume? By setting their own music to Woody Guthrie's lyrics, Billy Bragg and Wilco once again offer a 50-minute testament to Guthrie's long, dynamic shadow. This sophomore meeting is as balanced between the up-tempo and the down-tempo as was the first volume. Jeff Tweedy's rasp gives all the Wilco-driven tunes a certain grit, and the songs Bragg takes on have a luminescent, frank earnestness that intensifies the delivery of Guthrie's lyrical social critiques. "Hot Rod Hotel", with Bragg handling the vocals, melds the two approaches best, and "Secret of the Sea" is the album's most pop-like centrepiece. Natalie Merchant's playful "I Was Born" is brief but sweet, just as blues-man Corey Harris's "Against the Law" is an uplift, with his passionate vocal wail mirroring the political gist of Guthrie's words. The moody closers, "Black Wind Blowing" and "Someday, Some Morning, Sometime" end Mermaid Avenue Volume 2 with a pair of sweetly sad gems, one a Bragg-sung folk blues that mourns the loss of cotton crops in the American dustbowl era, the other a Tweedy-sung paean to lost love. --Andrew Bartlett

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was born and bred on rock and roll, but lately I've been more interested in jazz, world music and classical. I'm not really enthusiastic about folk music, but I listen to it from time to time. When I pulled this album from the bin at the library, it was because I had heard some Billy Bragg before and thought it was interesting. I knew nothing of Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. This disk blew me away- ecclectic, original, different yet familiar, I think every track is a winner, even though I like some better than others. Certainly if you are sick of listening to the same old stuff, this is a great mixture of rock, blues, bluegrass, folk, and musical styles that should just be filed under "other." I enjoyed this sequqal much more than the first "Mermaid Avenue" disk- but judging from the other reviews this is an issue of personal taste. Then again, isn't music like that to begin with? I appreciate Woody Guthrie a whole lot more now, and I think it's tremendous what modern independant musicians have done with material from a previous generation. Definately check this disk out- I think it belongs in any serious music lover's collection.
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Format: Audio CD
We have reviews from Wilco fans and reviews from Billy Bragg fans...I enjoy both artists, but I am a Woody Guthrie fan first and foremost! I too have looked forward to this second CD for a long time, and I love it just as much as the first one. Woody had (and still has) so much to say, and this collection of lyrics proves yet again that you can't pin him down in any kind of category. "Airline to Heaven" is a brilliant opener...I hear it and I want to dance, dance, dance! "Remember the Mountain Bed" is a beautiful song that would lend itself wonderfully to dance (someone should work on some choreography!). Woody's vivid mental picture of a day spent in the peaceful woods, along with Wilco's soothing tune, make this my favourite song on the album. "Hot Rod Hotel" is a vivid mental picture in quite a different vein - every disgusting thing you can imagine about Depression-era rooming houses is packed into this song! "Meanest Man" is a very dark-sounding song with a punk feel to it, and the words are classic Woody. "Blood of the Lamb" was written in 1955 when Woody was suffering from Huntington's disease and could barely write anymore...Wilco's creepy, eerie music for this song fits the situation well, capturing the way Huntington's twists and warps it's victims' minds.
Overall, an excellent album. Its diversity and variety of musical styles are so refreshing, as diverse and unpredictable as Woody was himself. It's so good that a few more of his songs are seeing the light of day. I hope other artists can have the same privelege as Wilco and Billy Bragg, and we can hear more interpretations of Woody's genius.
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Format: Audio CD
This new collection of Bragg/Wilco/Guthrie tunes makes for a convincing case that Woody Guthrie's lyrics should be on the mandatory curriculum for any English high school student in North America. The fact that these powerful gems having been left to gather dust for the past 50-60 years is a shame . . . but all the better for us, who are being introduced to them for the first time. This CD is worth the price just for the words of "Remember the Mountain Bed" alone.
Much darker and grittier than the first volume, this second Mermain Avenue collection is more fully realized than the first. You can hear the musicians digging INTO the words and not tip-toeing around like they were on some of the tracks on Volume One.
Standouts include the spooky "Hot Rod Hotel," the beautifully melodic layered guitars and harmonies of "Secret of the Sea" and the majestic paen to love of "Remember the Mountain Bed" (9 verses and no chorus -- yay! Stick that in your hat Backstreet Boys).
A perfect album.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't know how to write or play or record music, but I can only assume that setting 50-year-old lyrics to instrumentation of one's own device is a pretty hard row to hoe. More than likely, attempting to put two completely separate ends of the musical spectrum alongside each other is excruciating, let alone bringing them together to accomplish such an aformentioned task of updating ancient lyrics. Perhaps even harder than both these premises is repeating it for a second time around. On "Mermaid Avenue, vol. II", Billy Bragg and Wilco achieve all three, and then some.
The exhilarating opening track, "Airline To Heaven", is awash with a synthesized, thumping beat remininscent of the Beatles' reprise of "Sgt. Pepper", a pounding slide guitar adding emphasis to just about every line, and a heart-wrenching delivery that must be what Bob Dylan would have sounded like if he recorded "The Freewheelin'" in the year 2000. On the same token, "Feed of Man" wouldn't sound too out of place on any Animals record, and "Blood Of The Lamb" is what "Whisky Bar" would have been if Jim Morrison had experimented with the New Testament instead of LSD.
The combined influences of new and old pop/rock throughout the disc compliment the words just a tad better than the first volume, and both Bragg and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy pour them out with such conviction, you have to believe every little phrase they sing. Corey Harris, who put some work into volume one, gets his chance at the mic on this album on the upbeat blues number "Against Th' Law", and shines brightly, as does Natalie Merchant on "I Was Born", even if it's a bit of a repeat from her appearance on the previous record.
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