Thursday, April 12, 2007
John Anderson- A Honky Tonk Saturday Night
There were two great new voices on mainstream country radio in the '80s- Randy Travis and John Anderson. Anderson's 1982 breakthrough release, Wild & Blue, signaled the format's short-lived return to traditional sounds. Not only does that album's "A Honky Tonk Saturday Night" showcase Anderson rich voice, it's a near-perfect country song. Steve Goodman would appreciate its laundry list of topics- drinking, dancing, casual sex, and best of all, Merle Haggard on the jukebox.
And it was going so well... I auditioned Djin Djin, the new release by African star Angelique Kidjo, last night. It's front-loaded with guest spots by pop stars. Alicia Keys, Branford Marsalis, Joss Stone and Peter Gabriel make constructive appearances in the first twenty minutes. After hearing the fifth song, which features the sublime Amadou & Mariam, I was ready to make room for Djin Djin in my best-of list for 2007. Then came Josh Groban and Carlos Santana. It's excruciating. Can one song ruin an album? I'll have to wrestle with that question. And guess what song is featured in the label's electronic press kit?
I devoured Kurt Vonnegut's paperbacks while in high school. And I'm still thrilled at the memory of lobbing him a softball question at one of his lectures. I lost my taste for Vonnegut soon after, but there's little doubt that his work affected my world view. The author died yesterday.
Kansas City Click: John Anderson plays the VooDoo tonight. It wasn't long ago that Anderson appeared at extremely sketchy dives. This is another case of casinos altering the live music scene. In this case, it's for the better.