Eric Andersen - You Can't Relive The Past

You Can't Relive The Past

Eric Andersen

APR CD 1032 Appleseed Records
P. O. Box 2593
West Chester, PA 19380

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch

Start at the end and take a look at the credits on the song list, and you will notice that this is the most important part of this cd. Four songs co-written with Townes Van Zandt make their first appearance in this cd, one song co-written with none other than Lou Reed. It is not that Eric Andersen is a lightweight songwriter but when he works with this luminaries it's a reason to celebrate.

In both these collaboration we find the best of both worlds, especially the Van Zandt songs are great Van Zandt compositions and also shows the best in Andersen songwriting. These songs, written in the 80's, are not left-off or fillers. In Meadowlark, a beautiful ballad, Andersen sings:

Darkness sparkles the edge of dawn
like a heart that's turned stone cold
the ones I love are dead and gone

Andersen previous album, Memory Of the Future, was recorded in eight years. This one was recorded in two days! The feeling of urgency is all over this 65 minute CD. His choice was to record many of this songs with blues musicians, with an electric guitar reminding of Chuck Berry and the late 50's. And no bass. I find this approach lacking in depth sometimes, and some songs like Stand Me Up Easy" sound not better than average pub music. In the same field as the band Dr. Feelgood, but very far from them in quality. It works better in a song like Gonna Go Crazy, but even in that case it's not a masterpiece.

It's a pity, because there are some great songs in this cd. the opening song Eyes Of The Immigrant is an acoustic and Dylanesque song about those who came to the states. The title song, You Can't Relive The Past, co written and sung with Lou Reed, is also an infectious song, and you will sure sing it. The four songs co-written with Van Zandt are all great songs, as well as Dear Mama is a great "relive-the-past" and sounds like a great 60's song.

I have given up long ago on finding the perfect cd, and having bought a CD-burner I do my compilations of the best songs in each cd, either by one artist or by various artists. In the last two various artists compilations I did there was an Andersen song, and probably 5 or 6 songs here I would like to listen very often. As a whole album I thing that if it had 15 minutes less and a better selection could have made this cd one of the best of the year.

I'll end with a beautiful quotation from The Road:

The road lies in wait
patient as a snake
diamonds on its back
glitters in his eyes
the road waits'
all my bones to break

Track List:

  • Eyes Of The Immigrant (Eric Andersen)
  • you Can't Relive The Past (Eric Andersen & Lou Reed)
  • Gonna Go Crazy (Eric Andersen)
  • The Meadowlark (Townes Van Zandt & Eric Andersen)
  • Every Once In A Pale Blue Moon (Eric Andersen)
  • Stand Me Up Easy (Eric Andersen)
  • Dear Mama (Eric Andersen)
  • The Road (Eric Andersen & Townes Van Zandt)
  • Cold Country (Eric Andersen)
  • Night Train (Eric Andersen & Townes Van Zandt)
  • Magdalena (Eric Andersen)
  • The Blue March (Eric Andersen & Townes Van Zandt)
  • Possum reprise

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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