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Storefront Hitchcock: Music from the Jonathan Demme Picture

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Album Review

On Hitchcock's last U.S. tour, he played Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" as well as "Are You Experienced," sometimes within the same set. It's the kind of act that defines his performing genius as a whimsical iconoclast; but then Hitchcock once performed most of Dylan's "Royal Albert Hall" concert, so such live acts of devotion shouldn't come as entirely unexpected.

Though only "Mary" is included here, Hitchcock's wacky essence is captured on the soundtrack to the Jonathan Demme picture which chronicles a couple of evenings during the aforementioned U.S. tour; both documents demand patience, but by the third song and final guitar of "I'm Only You," if you ain't hooked, I'll buy yours. Drawing from a variety of eras (the slice of life "The Yip! Song" and the electrified riff of "Freeze" are familiar Egyptians songs; love stories "Beautiful Queen" and "Alright, Yeah" are from Moss Elixir; "1974" and "I Don't Remember Guildford" are newer, personal-ish songs), the tie that binds this collection is feelings, instead of those proverbial Hitchcock symbols for them: fish and birds. What a relief. And who knew he was such an accomplished folk and electric guitarist? Storefront Hitchcock reveals his humanness, with all of his flaws, foibles, and mid-life revelations: "I'm completely gray, you're completely mad, you're a middle-aged baby and the world is bad," in "Let's Go Thundering"; "I know who wrote the book of was an idiot, it was a fool..." in "Freeze." To the best of his ability, the Hitchcock persona has become "sensitive male" while still maintaining his absurd sense of humor. In the process, he's made one dictionary definition, jaw-dropping live singer/songwriter album. Listen closely for the nod to "Purple Haze."


Born: 03 March 1953 in London, England

Genre: Rock

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

Robyn Hitchcock is one of England's most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. Despite having been persistently branded as eccentric or quirky for much of his career, Hitchcock has continued to develop his whimsical repertoire, deepen his surreal catalog, and expand his devoted audience beyond the boundaries of cult stature. He is among alternative rock's father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan (not coincidentally his biggest inspiration). Starting...
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