Sunday, October 16, 2005

Vinyl Vault: Lyle Lovett's "Pontiac"/ Dylanism

Lyle is one of those unique contemporary artists that is impossible to label. It's just as difficult to find another artist who records anything like the distinct nitch he's carved out.
I first stumbled upon his music while on the road following the Grateful Dead during the summer of 1994. The tape in the console deck switched between Liz Phair's "Exile In Guyville" and any number of Lyle's recordings. "Pontiac" probably got the most airplay in the rotation and my fondness for his brand of country swing with pop/blues tendencies(along with a side of juevos rancheros) has grown ever since.
This album is a wonderful display of the varying styles he is able to tackle with the utmost of ease, all the while making them his own. Just when you think you have him pinned down, he throws you a curve ball in the form of dance hall big band boogie or a soulful blues number with his bad-ass lady killer persona at the helm. Then he'll pull off a slow simple ballad that's never heavy on sentiment or reeking of cheese. A master of musical disguises.
He's at his best when tossing out self deprecating lines or come-back zingers that leave you busting a gut. The chorus of "She's no lady, she's my wife" says it all. Even lines like "Oooh give back my heart chip-kicker redneck woman. I can't be no cowgirl paradise" reveal that his humor can have a delightful double edge to their sting.
Then their are songs like "L.A. County" that are sheer perfection. He describes a long time friendship that takes many turns and finally ends with a .45 gun in hand. His description of Los Angeles, "...the lights of L.A. County look like diamonds in the sky." will never make you see the town that sin built in quite the same way again.
A beautiful recording that contains lovely backing vocals by Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill.
I've been lucky enough to see him in concert several times. His dry onstage humor and magnetic presence make for a perfect evening under the stars. Go see him if you ever get the chance.
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Here's a bit of stoned poetry from the Scorsese "No Direction Home" documentary. It finds Dylan riffing off an advertisement posted on a brick wall.

"I'm looking for a place that will collect, clip, bath and return my dog; KN1-7727; cigarettes & tobacco... Animals and birds bought or sold on commission.

"I want a dog that's gonna collect and clean my bath, return my cigarette and give tobacco to my animals and give my birds a commission.

"I want, I'm looking for somebody to sell my dog, collect my clip, buy my animal and straighten out my bird.

"I'm looking for a place to bathe my bird, buy my dog, collect my clip, sell me cigarettes and commission my bath.

"I'm looking for a place that's gonna collect my commission, sell my dog, burn my bird and sell me to the cigarette.

"No, no, bird my buy, collect my will and bathe my commission.

"I'm looking for a place that's gonna animal my soul, knit my return, bathe my foot and collect my dog.

"Commission me to sell my animal to the bird to clip and buy my bathtub and return me back to the cigarette."

iPod Song of the Day: "Who Loves The Sun" from the Velvet Underground bootleg Who Loves Ya Lou?


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