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Mermaid Avenue Volume 2
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Media Type: CD
Artist: BRAGG,BILLY & WILCO
Title: VOL. 2-MERMAID AVE.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
remember the mountain bed!!!!!!!!!!!!!awesome!!!!!!!!say what you like, think what you will, but this song is worth the whole album. Read morePublished on June 10 2003
If like me you bought Mermaid Avenue Volume 1 and liked it, but wondered if there was enough to go around for second CD - don't worry, there is. Read morePublished on March 16 2003 by L. Howard
I liked all the Wilco songs, but Billy Bragg wasn't all that great. The former still makes it a worthwhile purchase. Read morePublished on March 10 2002 by twinky buttspong
When I first heard the concept behind this album, I became very intrigued--writing new, original music to old Woody Guthrie lyrics. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2001 by Phillip Hatzenbuehler
If you never heard the 1st CD, this one is really fresh. If you hear the first one first, maybe you won't like it as well. I think that 5 or 6 tracks are really outstanding. Read morePublished on June 25 2001
Bragg is great, but Corey outshines everybody with a single track. This is a good CD, but not as good as Volume 1. It doesn't quite have the same energy or drive as the first one.Published on April 13 2001 by Michael Brumitt
I've got to agree more with the naysayers on this album. While not as "bad" as some make it out to be, in my opinion, 5 stars is just a gut reaction that some diehard... Read morePublished on Dec 12 2000
If you loved Mermaid Ave. the first time around, then don't spoil it by buying the mediocre follow up. Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2000 by Frank
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