Thursday, August 18, 2005

I received the Modern Sounds of The Knitters album that I was promised this week and, while not blown away, I certainly wasn't disappointed with the group's follow-up to 1985's Poor Little Critter in the Road. The arrangement of the traditional Give Me Flowers While I'm Living features Exene Cervenka on vocals and has a melody similar to Truck Drivin' Man. Dave Alvin's baritone guitar is the highlight of In This House That I Call Home, which has an arrangement that differs a bit from the original X version. Alvin wrote Dry River and does some nice guitar picking as John Doe sings the song. Though I still prefer the original, The New Call Of The Wreckin' Ball is about as successful as most sequels get. Porter Wagoner had a hit with I'll Go Down Swinging, and The Knitters' rootsy rockabilly version with Exene singing is a hit in my universe. Long Chain On is sombre and adds a nice counterpoint to some of the 12 other songs here, including X's Burning House Of Love and Skin Deep Town, which was a high point from the band's Lee's Palace performance on Aug. 7. Born To Be Wild ends the album and doesn't reach the heights that I might have hoped for, but Steppenwolf covered in a hillbilly style seems to be a pretty appropriate way to end this album.

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