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Album Review

Although it's not quite up to the standards of its immediate predecessor, Swing and a Miss (one of R. Stevie Moore's all-time career high points), 1978's Sheetrock is nonetheless a pivotal recording. This was the last album that Moore recorded in Nashville before moving for good to northern New Jersey later that year. Even more importantly, it's the first of Moore's albums to show a pronounced punk and new wave influence throughout. Moore was clearly as excited by the likes of Talking Heads and the Ramones (who get namechecked on "Compatibility Leaves" and the gloriously snotty falsetto workout "Apropos Joe," respectively) as he had been by the Beatles and the Mothers of Invention ten years previously, and the new interest had a stunning effect on his songwriting: Sprinkled in among the Todd Rundgren-influenced power ballad "Do You Feel About the Same?," the hysterical, cacophonous freakout "What Is the Matter With Me?," and the proggy synthesizer instrumental "The Swings' Eulogy" (a farewell to the Holiday Inn covers band Moore had just left) are sparkling slices of punk-influenced power pop like "How Many Moore," the sweetly deranged piano solo "The Holocaust Parade," and "Oh Pat," as well as the bouncy, Wings-like "Alcohol Call" and "Irony," which showcases Moore's burgeoning knack for bittersweet love songs delivered in a dreamy voice over layers of jangling guitars. The best of the batch, however, are "Compatibility Leaves," one of Moore's catchiest tunes, with a naggingly familiar guitar hook and a smart, crisp, handclap-fueled arrangement, and the nakedly emotional acoustic reverie "I'm Scared," one of Moore's most direct and simplest songs. Although not an absolutely top-drawer release, Sheetrock has its share of R. Stevie Moore classics.


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 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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Sheetrock, R. Stevie Moore
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