In a political newsletter I publish on the side, I tend to write with…um, well, a bit of Tourette's Syndrome to my sometimes empurpled prose. I mean, how can anyone have lived through the Baboon Bush years and not lose their mind with fair frequency? Well, Josh Weinstein also tends to call a spade a spade and thus grabs my attention before the laser even hits this disc. When spying song titles like Hangoverture and Fuck is Fuck, how can anyone walk away?!?! Then scan the lyric sheet and find:
"Duke of Earl is a tattoo on a back in a cloroxed corner of the bartended room of the girl with the tip jar tits and ATM smile."
"These are the days when we dance alone / This is the age of compression."
"I get stoned instead of feel / Give it words so it's not real / God and me, we have a deal / I don't tell that He don't exist / And He don't look when I'm like this / See, fuck is fuck and kiss is kiss"
…so, hell, I like it! This is Big Apple stuff, the town where they tell ya what they mean rather than wrap it in SoCal, asskissing, yuppy bullshit. The shock comes, then, when the disc opens with an orchestral / jazz downbeat ushering us into a beatnik snappy Every New York and Weinstein's rostrum delivery atop a slightly demented band tipsy in its chops and posture. This is Billy Joel's nightmare, a seedy from-the-gutter tour of the real world, not some high-society yodel with a pseudo side of faux slumming, Charles Bukowski not Barbara Ehrenreich.
The tired and bitter Everyman is so well represented here that it becomes a hot brand on the cheek and heart rather than Radio City and the Rockettes on Channel 7. Something this immersed in booze and the workaday has to echo Waits, and it does, but G.E. Smith's slide guitar edges David Lindley in as well (Smith is a smarmy TV sonuvabitch but, Christ, what an axehandler!), and I can't help but hear a bit of a pissed-off Dylan who never made it to church, ranting to a bottle of chianti in a sleazy hotel room off 38th Street.
Josh Weinstein doesn't so much sing as mutter, reflect, hurl poetry, and lament. He has a superb rhythm section in Paul Ossola (bass) and John Bollinger—especially Bollinger, who runs a sophisticated hand over his traps—but all concerned turn in highly inflected performances perfectly coloring Weinstein's unusual city landscapes rough with dirt, wind, and cold. When you're done, you won't be sure what you're feeling and thus will listen to it again in order to figure everything out, and then again, and again, and again, and…it's that kind of release.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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