Ken Benzinger  
PoOPlist '04

Kent Benziger’s Sweet Sixteen -2005

todd snider - east nashville skyline
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mountain goats - we shall all be healed
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TODD SNIDER - East Nashville Skyline
MOUNTAIN GOATS - We Shall All Be Healed
Two literate and witty songwriters. Great songs about Linda Blair, the real meaning of “Louie Louie”, and wrestling with guilt and sin.

guitar shorty - watch your back
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GUITAR SHORTY - Watch Your Back
A Texas blues journeyman puts some rock in the mix and releases his one claim to greatness - besides being related to Jimmy Hendrix.

murray, sanders - gwotet
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DAVID MURRAY, Pharoah Sanders and the Gwo-Ka Masters . . . Gwotet
The most underrated saxophone player of our time concocts a very loose African-inspired jazz groove with some imported ringers and a famed refugee from Coltrane’s later days.

dave alvin - ashgrove
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DAVE ALVIN – Ashgrove
Nothing knew except reminisces of days gone by, lost loves and great guitar.

gretchen wilson - here for the party
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GRETCHEN WILSON - Here for the Party
She doesn’t know the lyrics to every Tanya Tucker song, and I am not buying the badass country girl jive. She is still Nashville, but Shania was a guilty pleasure and Gretchen rocks a little more.

andreus - steet troubadour
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ANDREUS – Street Troubadour
Social commentary that could’ve come from Curtis Mayfield. Sample titles stolen from the early seventies - "Hustla's Theme" and "Bastard Child". They say this Andreus is a bad M***, F****….”Shut Watch Your Mouth!”

ojos de brujo - bari
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Nouveaux Gipsy Kings where flamenco guitars think outside the box. Not everything works but it is appreciated.

green day - american idiot
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GREEN DAY – American Idiot
I don’t love it, but isn’t this what rock should be about? By the way, remember the Seinfeld episode where George changes his life by making decisions and then doing exactly the opposite? Another George should take note.

razorlight - up all night
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Okay, okay, I admit this is nothing more than your average English-Scandinavian retro punks who have listened to one too many Television albums, but that’s good enough for me.

interpol - antics
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INTERPOL – Antics.
These guys are really trying. It’s dense and atmospheric and I’m not sure what they are singing about. The release is provided by some power chords midway through the first few songs. Then the album just gets really dense and atmospheric.

brian wilson - smile
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Brian, your work here is done, you can go back to your room.

us - how to
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U-2 How to Build an Atomic Bomb
Oh, I guess the album is okay, but the marketing is genius. According to Time, the band blocked an earlier version and went back into the studio to cut better songs that mattered. This is tried and true U-2 with three or four anthem rockers and the usual global message.

andrew manze - biber
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ANDREW MANZE Biber – The Rosary Sonatas
Baroque composer Heinrich Biber wrote fifteen sonatas on the life of Jesus. Violinist Andrew Manze creates an eerie, intense, and beautiful sound. Religious passion without the blood.

william shatner - has been
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WILLIAM SHATNER - Has Been Mr. Shatner is vulnerable, insightful, and full of shit. The Ben Folds melodies are wonderful, and Shatner’s lyrics painfully address such subjects as his failed relationship with his daughter and finding his wife’s body floating in the swimming pool. He openly addresses life’s real issues, but don’t give him any credit. It is still a masquerade. Captain Kirk is a self-centered egotist who doesn’t want to change (none of us do), except now he hiding behind his proclaimed and profitable self-awareness.

alman bros. - one way out
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ALLMAN BROTHERS - One Way Out, Live at the Beacon
Robert Christgau gave this 2003 live show an A minus claiming it beats the classic Live at the Fillmore East. It doesn’t, but I’d take it over this year’s Live at the Atlanta Pop Festival which shows Duane and Dicky in 1970 with the passion but not the chops. On Live at the Beacon, Warren Hayes and Butch Truck certainly have the chops, and, better yet, they don’t care about tradition. Further Gregg Allman’s gritty vocals sound like he just learned the songs.

v.a - por vida
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V.A. - Por Vida: A Tribute To The Songs Of Alejandro Escovedo This will no doubt smear high on everyone’s Poop list. A rootsy tribute to Mr. Escoveda who suddenly became everyone’s inspiration after he contracted Hepatitis C and needed some bills paid. Poop goddess Lucinda Williams leads off (yawn), but the garage rock brings out the best in Lenny Kaye and Los Lonely Boys .

TALKING HEADS- The Name of the Band is Talking Heads
The first live set on this expanded reissue gives us a bunch of art school dropouts who could barely play. Then, in just a few years, they become the tightest and most exciting live band on the planet. It didn’t last long, but with the help of sideman like Adrian Belew, they showed us the future of funk, and we still haven’t caught up.
JOAN ARMATRADING - Love and Affection: Classics 1975-1983
Her best songs combine a folksinger’s intelligence with pop and jazz sensibilities. Think Tracy Chapman and Laura Nyro. Armatrading met deeply emotional issues head-on without flinching, and, of course, her albums didn’t sell diddly. When you are a Black English Lesbian who deals with humanity not stereotypes, sometimes it’s hard to build your fan base.
CANDI STATON - Outside In & Candi Staton
Two albums from a woman who started out as an Aretha from Muscle Shoals and ended up as a Donna Summers fueled by the Holy Spirit. How did we miss this stuff?
FACES - Five Guys Walk into a Bar
Rod Stewarts always saved his best stuff for his Mercury Solo albums, and now the Faces are suddenly the godfathers of punks. Rock and Roll may be about excess, but four disc of very loose, very sloppy playing of songs that don’t go anywhere is a bit much. Yet, the boys certainly knew how to have a good time, and you hear it in every song.
V.A. - Night Train to Nashville Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970
Just an excuse to put together a good survey of some fine and mostly unknown Rhythm & Blues.
A retrospective from Mali’s premier diva.
PAPA WEMBA – The First Twenty Years
INSECT TRUST – Hoboken Saturday Night
A refreshing potpourri.

BORDERLINE (and maybe a little too sincere)
James McMurtry & Heartless Bastards, Live in Aught –Three; PJ Harvey -Uh Huh Her, Olabelle, Futureheads, The Killers (the whole album is a variation of their one good song).

Prince, Patti Smith, Black Keys and Franz Ferdinand.

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