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You Must Ask the Heart

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Album Review

The ambitious You Must Ask the Heart is Richman's most consistent effort in years; produced with clarity by Brennan Totten, the album is a neat summation of the singer's recent history, ranging in tone from the pensive ("To Hide a Little Thought") to the silly ("Vampire Girl") and spanning in style from country (the title track) to Spanish ("Amorcito Corazon"). Offsetting his own material with a handful of superb covers — including Tom Waits' "The Heart of Saturday Night" and Sam Cooke's "Nothing Can Change This Love" — Richman sings with remarkable energy and honesty; even after dozens of records, his joyful spirit remains undimmed.


Born: May 15, 1951 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

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

Jonathan Richman was one of rock's most eccentric and unpredictable cult figures, a performer whose eternally childlike public persona and seeming naiveté -- typified by songs like "Ice Cream Man," "Hey There Little Insect" and "I'm a Little Aeroplane" -- tended to obscure the dexterity and craft of his music, which skirted from garage rock to country to Latin stylings and back. Born May 15, 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts, Richman began playing guitar at the age of 15, and within a year was making...
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