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Contact Risk (A Selection of Home and Studio Recordings 1968-1990)

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Album Review

R. Stevie Moore's first CD release (hence the punning title), 1993's Contact Risk is one of the New Jersey-based D.I.Y. auteur's most enjoyable compilations. Reaching all the way back to "Ill (Worst)," a Syd Barrett-like 1968 home recording by the then-16-year-old Moore's first band, the Marlborough, Contact Risk delivers 21 tracks of quirky but immensely enjoyable art pop. Most compilations sampling the literally hundreds of homemade cassettes for sale through the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club tend to focus on one aspect or another of Moore's musical personality, be it his talent for super-catchy pop songs, his skill at constructing bizarre sound montages, or his Bonzo Dog Band-like facility at dadaist genre parody. Contact Risk hits all three and adds a few more for good measure. Like the pop songs? Contact Risk includes Moore's very best, "Play Myself Some Music," a heartbreaking ode to the restorative powers of pop that predates Nick Hornby's High Fidelity by a full decade, along with twisty gems like "Under the Light," which would fit on a Wings album, and the insistently bouncy "You Love Me, Do Something." Prefer the weird things? Try the synthesizer solo "Sponge Bath" and the three-part "I Could Be Your Lover," spoken word surrealism that's alternately hilarious and chilling. Meanwhile, Moore essays Barry White-style loverman-rap ("Times Have Changed"), Buck Owens-style country ("Elation Damnation"), and hip-hop ("Oil"), as well as a few of his more traditional solo acoustic folk-style songs. The only problem with Contact Risk for longtime R. Stevie Moore fans is that over a quarter of these songs have appeared on previous vinyl artifacts; while having them in improved digital fidelity is nice and all, Moore has written so many brilliant songs that it would have been easy to find some more obscure gems.


Born: January 18, 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 has self-released literally thousands of songs through the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club (online at, an ongoing mail-order operation that has hundreds of individually dubbed cassettes and CD-Rs in its catalog. The handful of traditional LPs and CDs...
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Contact Risk (A Selection of Home and Studio Recordings 1968-1990), R. Stevie Moore
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