Friday, March 04, 2005


Deep Turquoise Decoys

by Glenn Cripes

When I was younger I had a lot of faith in my favorite popstars. I knew that they knew best. I remember when I was a kid and I first got Revolver and I really didn't like it much. I kept listening and it's genius revealed itself to me. It taught me not to judge the merits of a record until I let it soak in for a while. I don't think I really 'got' (as in 'understood') Blonde on Blonde until I was 20 years old. Which brings us to our record of the week:

'Looks safe to go out....I don't see that fat kid anywhere....'

I remember bringing this record home in 1978 and being unable to connect with it after several playings. 'Maybe one day' I thought. I do remember being drunk and thinking Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat) was pretty good...but let's flash forward to today.

Changing Of The Guards starts this record off nicely enough. The lyrics are a portentous sack of emptiness, but the tune carries it nicely, and Bob sings it pretty good, so no harm done. Next up, Bob gets down and dirty with the call and response blues of New Pony. These women singing backup sound like a hectoring line of church ladies holding rolling pins behind their backs with their nagging query of 'how much longer?'. They don't go away either. No Time To Think gathers many of Bob's stock players together. We have judges, country priestesses, tyrants, traitors, lions lying down, magicians, bridges to babylon, know, the usual suspects. Put them all in one place and the result is a waltz in a crowded room where nothing happens. Baby Stop Crying is a textbook example of how not to dry a woman's tears. I can't imagine a request to fetch a pistol and go down to the river being a calming thing.

The comedy continues with Is Your Love In Vain?. Bob comes clean with his checklist of instructions a proper woman must follow--under no circumstances will you intrude on his precious darkness. Just cook, sew, make flowers grow and worship at the altar of Bobby's pain. Not too difficult right? Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) follows. I see no 'tales of Yankee power' here. All I can muster from reading the lyrics is a tale of asking directions from a Mexican guy. True Love Tends To Forget is based on such a stupid concept that I can't bear to give utterance to any analysis here.

I'm convinced that We Better Talk This Over was Bob's stab at writing a Gordon Lightfoot song. It has all the elements of a soft lilting down to earth lightweight Lightfoot ditty. Congrats Bob--you win a can of syrup.

Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat) caps Street-Legal off nicely. Lots of good lines are scattered throughout, but this pot never comes to a boil. Like the rest of this LP, this is second string Bob at work here. A kiss through a screen door. A glossy transitional record where the finger doesn't quite reach the trigger.

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