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Street of Lost Brothers

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Album Review

Lucas' second album for John Zorn's Tzadik label continued in the same vein as the first (Busy Being Born) with one or two variations. The opening, traditional "Yigdal" is a rousing, dance-oriented number featuring Zorn on alto sax, and this is quickly followed by one of Lucas' almost-patented, intricate, and lovely solo guitar pieces, weaving various folk patterns into a delightful sonic fabric. The bulk of the album consists of further elaborations on Jewish themes (or anti-Jewish, as Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" is strained through the Lucas wringer), blues, and folk songs. The unusual cut, compared to prior releases, is the largely improvised duo with keyboardist Walter Horn. Based on a traditional Hebrew song, the pair venture into far freer territory than Lucas normally explores. Listeners who have known and enjoyed his work over the years might still admit that he gets into a series of ruts (however pleasurable); tracks like "Sh'ma" perhaps offer hope of a way out.


Born: 1952 in Syracuse, NY

Genre: Alternative

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

When Gary Lucas was nine, his dad suggested he take up playing the guitar. Although he followed his dad's suggestion, Lucas focused more on the French horn that he played for his elementary-school band, and continued to play that instrument until getting kicked out of his high-school band. Lucas then focused wholly on the guitar, and played in various groups throughout the '60s. As a campus station music director during his second year at Yale, Lucas saw Captain Beefheart in concert and immediately...
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Street of Lost Brothers, Gary Lucas
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