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The North

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Album Review

The North is a pivotal tape in R. Stevie Moore's canon; as the title of this 1978 release implies, it features the first results of his move from Nashville to Montclair, NJ, beginning the most fruitful stage of his career. Appropriately enough, this completely solo album starts with a haunting instrumental cover of the Beach Boys' "In My Room" that transforms the song into a graceful reverie for the home taper. It's not entirely peaceful — the self-explanatory "Loneliness Monologue" is downright depressing, and it's followed by the lovely but emotionally devastating "Norway," one of Moore's starkest ballads — but The North is a febrile and exciting record full of ideas. Not all of them are good ones, of course: in the "it had to happen sooner or later" department, the audio vérité "The S**t" is...erm...meant as a verb, not a noun. On the brighter side, highlights include the punchy rocker "Going Down the Way," the wry "(I'm Your) Latest Guest," the brief but endearingly sprightly "Wix la Chelme," and a more fleshed-out, fully arranged version of the swell, McCartney-like ballad "Girl Go," which had previously appeared on 1977's Swing and a Miss. Among the more amusing oddities are a version of the old Terry Stafford hit "Suspicion" that turns into a tongue-in-cheek disco tune and ends up devolving into a paid commercial for Moore's then-current EP, Four from Phonography, as well as a 45-second backwards snippet of Moore's powerhouse dance-rocker "Manufacturers" that somehow still sounds pretty cool.


Born: 18 January 1952 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most difficult to categorize musicians in rock, R. Stevie Moore is a true original. Bypassing the traditional recording industry more thoroughly than just about any internationally known singer/songwriter ever has, Moore self-released literally thousands of songs through the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club, a mail-order operation that has hundreds of individually dubbed cassettes and CD-Rs in its catalog. The handful of traditional LPs and CDs Moore has released since 1975 are primarily...
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The North, R. Stevie Moore
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