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Call of the Northwest - Live In Seattle

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Customer Reviews

Ridgway is the real deal - accept no substitutes!

What a great collection! It's been a little more than 25 years since L.A.'s Stan Ridgway and Wall of Voodoo released Call of the West, and that calls for a drink. The album's dusty, Barstow-to-Bakersfield, Ross Macdonald-meets-Edward G. Ulmer in a Death Valley Detour to nowheresville title track and grimly optimistic film noir narratives still reverberate across the musical Route 66 Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgway paved, roadkill and all. It's the closest musical approximation yet of that hardscrabble, postwar, westward wanderlust to rush headlong into the unknown, "And above all to get a fair shake, to get a piece of the rock, a slice of the pie, to spit out the window of your car and not have the wind blow it back in your face.." Ridgway's post-Wall of Voodoo output has, if anything, cemented his neo-noir rep as one of American music's great storytellers and songwriters, the wild and wily Steinbeck of sad whiskey railroads and rusted, ramshackle American dreams. Great!

A classic

This is a great capture of an artist who is at the top of his game - in fact, unlike a lot of acts, I feel that Stan Ridgway continues to get better and better. It's almost as if his music is more suited to a man his age than it was to the young fellow who sang about somnambulist factory workers and weary gamblers way back in '82. Seeing Stan Ridgway in concert has always been a unique experience. Between songs he's very loose, wry, and often ordering martini's from the bar. Unlike most rock singers, the man seems very approachable, goofy, and more than anything down to earth. Then the songs start; the contrast between the man and his music is vast. These are harsh tales, full of wisdom at the absurdity of life, and startling in their originality. This is the first live release I've heard that comes close to capturing that sort of experience. The sound here is great - punchy, clear, but with enough bass to have the type of depth I felt was missing from previous live albums of his. As well, the set list is a real killer, only missing a few pieces I would have loved to have in their live incarnation ('Knife and Fork' or Can't Complain). Things start off with a bang on 'Tomorrow'. In fact, it practically murders the original recording of this, as a more organic approach really makes this rock. Stan's unique, reedy harmonica leads, weaves, and comments on the rest of the music, while partner in crime Pietra Wexton's keyboard offers silly, 1950's space age noises. As well, the drumming of Joseph Beradi should be mentioned here; his drumming is fantastic, complex, and intelligent, but not devoid of soul. I remember my friends and I being fascinated watching him work it during this leg of the tour. As well, 'Factory', while on the original recording was haunting and industrial, here is purely heartbreaking in it's new arrangement. The music seems to inhabit the man (a factory worker who looses his finger and then slowly his mind) as opposed to comment on him. Not all is great however; his eventual performance of 'Mexican Radio' is not as inspired (who can blame him?) as the rest, and I would have preferred how i saw it back in '06: a tex mex rendition, implying a sort of self reverential nostaligia for the song and the period it was from. Here, it is merely a tidbit tossed out to the audience. As well, 'Call Box' doesn't quite hold up, it's quirky punch mysteriously missing (although his rant at the end - "what the f---k does that mean?!" is priceless). Regardless, this is a great album, and would even work as a great introduction to Stan's massive back catalogue. Now let's hope he gets his new album out soon! The bits I've heard on his myspace page are among his very best.

how not to be a wallflower

stanard quincy ridgeway, this is a great live album that would make lou reed cry if he hadn't of shot up thru his own tearducts. an album that would make tom waits stop drinkin gasoline and start drinkin lemonade. stan ridgway isn't an american original...i really don't care or want to know but i hope he never stops.


Born: April 5, 1954 in Barstow, CA

Genre: Rock

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

One of the most unique singer/songwriters in American indie music, with an unforgettable adenoidal vocal delivery that makes him sound like a low-level wise guy in one of those old Warner Bros. gangster films of the '30s and a lyrical obsession with the themes of pulp crime novels and film noir, Stan Ridgway is a true original. From his early days with quirky Los Angeles new wavers Wall of Voodoo to his even more intriguing solo career, Ridgway has created an impressive, if at times somewhat inscrutable...
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Call of the Northwest - Live In Seattle, Stan Ridgway
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Customer Ratings