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Love, War & the Ghost of Whitey Ford

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Album Review

Ten years after he relaunched his solo career with the "roots rap" album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, former House of Pain leader Everlast has succumbed entirely to the contemporary alt-rock blues. His 2008 release, Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford, is more in line with the work of G. Love & Special Sauce, Keb' Mo', or Popa Chubby than it is with any hip-hop act, save the cover version of "Folsom Prison Blues," which comes with an "Insane in the Membrane" backbeat thanks to producer and Cypress Hill member DJ Muggs. The track seems out of place on an album so dark, swampy, and disgusted with both society and self, but it's the kind of sweet relief that's called for after being pummeled by the death threat junta "Kill the Emperor" or driven to crimes of passion by the manic "Anyone" (as in "I'll kill anyone for you"). By the time "Naked" rolls around with its Emperor's New Clothes metaphor and equally overdone "The rich get richer/The poor get poorer" hook, it seems the songwriter has more venom than ideas, but this 17-track downer works well enough with some effort and trimming. It's earthshaking when Everlast's rich, rough baritone meets the plodding, gargantuan gospel of "Everyone," while highlight "Die in Yer' Arms" brings the Black Snake Moan atmosphere to downtown club culture as it lustfully drools all over the dancefloor. The war-torn "Letters Home from the Garden of Stone" towers above it all with its helicopter noises plus chilling tale of life on the front lines, and both "Stone in My Hand" and "Weakness" are redemption anthems that will satisfy sinners looking to be saints. They are the target audience and — along with the Everlast faithful — the ones who will find this heavy, rap-free album rich and rewarding instead of desolate and ponderous.

Customer Reviews

Spitzenklasse!

This album is so good and will grow on you. I have all the Everlast-albums and this one is in the same league in quality. "Friend", "Dirty", "Saving Grace"... I could continue, but listen for yourself :)

Biography

Born: 18 August 1969 in Valley Stream, NY

Genre: Rock

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

Once best known for his tenure in the rap unit House of Pain, Everlast successfully reinvented himself in 1998 with the best-selling Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, a largely acoustic, hip-hop-flavored effort in the genre-crossing mold of Beck. Born Erik Schrody, Everlast first surfaced in Los Angeles as a member of Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate Cartel, issuing his debut album, Forever Everlasting, in 1990. When the album failed to find an audience, he formed House of Pain with Danny Boy and DJ Lethal; carving...
Full bio
Love, War & the Ghost of Whitey Ford, Everlast
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