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Eric Andersen - Beat Avenue

Beat Avenue

Eric Andersen

(APR CD 1068)

Appleseed Recordings
P.O.Box 2593
West Chester, PA 19380

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

This CD's press release starts with the words:
"Asked to define himself, Eric Andersen says simply, 'I'm a song poet and a singer and player. I've been labeled a folk singer, but I don't consider myself one."

This double CD is indeed not folk music. Like his contemporaries, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and John Stewart, Andersen alternates between acoustic and electric albums. This one is electric and even the few quiet songs are not acoustic or folk. It reminded me very much of his 1988 Ghost Upon the Road, much more than his recent releases You Can't Relive the Past and Memories of the Future which were more lyrical and acoustic.

In many ways Beat Avenue is in par with Neil Young's and especially Bob Dylan's electric recordings. It sounds in many ways like a CD that could have been recorded in the late 60s and the 70s. In Ain't No Time to Bleed, a duet with Phoebe Snow, and a song that could be covered by Led Zepplin, Andersen sings:
"O Father, if you see me
Crying in my hour of need
Until my time for dying
Ain't no time to bleed
There's a town beyond Jerusalem
Built of mud and brick

Basically the first CD failed to convince me completely, and in some songs was hard to listen to. The masterpiece here is the second CD. Many will consider it filler, but it is a complete CD. Beat Avenue, which takes up most of the second disc, is a 26 minute epic poem about a poetry reading by beatnik poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the day that Kennedy was shot:
"The president had been shot
sun was shinin nothing shakin... "
Andersen describes in this poem how this day change the whole way of thinking of his generation.

This may not be Andersen's best CD, or even not his best CD in his last ten years of prolific recordings, but it proves that he is multi-talented artist with many eggs in his art basket. For newcomers to Andersen I would recommend his recordings: You Can't Relive the Past" (reviewed on this site), Stages: The Lost Album, Memories of the Future and many others before buying this one.

Track List

Disc 1
  • Ain't No Time To Bleed (duet with Phoebe Snow) (3:53)
  • Before Everything Changed (4:55)
  • Salt On Your Skin (4:45)
  • Song Of You And Me (6:18)
  • Shape Of A Broken Heart (3:52)
  • Great Pyramid (4:47)
  • Under The Shadows (3:43)
  • Rains Are Gonna Come (3:21)
  • Run Away (4:34)
  • Stupid Love (3:34)
  • Still Lookin For You (4:42)
  • Feel Like Comin' Home (3:25)
Disc 2
  • Beat Avenue (26:12)
  • Blue Rockin Chair (10:34)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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