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Beat Avenue
     

Beat Avenue

by Eric Andersen
 
Like Dylan, singer/songwriter Eric Andersen has mutated through many genres, from the bicoastal folk movement of the ‘60s to blues, rock, punk, and back home again. Beat Avenue is a vividly biographical two-CD set that incorporates the soundtracks of Andersen’s life. The title cut is a 26-minute story about Andersen’s experiences at a stoned-out party with the

Overview

Like Dylan, singer/songwriter Eric Andersen has mutated through many genres, from the bicoastal folk movement of the ‘60s to blues, rock, punk, and back home again. Beat Avenue is a vividly biographical two-CD set that incorporates the soundtracks of Andersen’s life. The title cut is a 26-minute story about Andersen’s experiences at a stoned-out party with the Beats Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, David Meltzer, and Michael McClure. It was the evening of November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Against a smooth-jazz matrix, Andersen’s husky voice relives the pain, the medication, and the ensuing woozy high of the evening. But as it turns out, there is no escaping that night and the innocence that was lost. The rest of the album travels through less wrenching territory. “Blue Rockin’ Chair” is an easy, sleazy extended blues with Eric Bazilian providing raunchy guitar. Phoebe Snow joins in a vocal duet on the driving tale of survival “Ain’t No Time to Bleed.” Lucy Kaplansky provides background vocals on the ballad “Salt on Your Skin” while Andersen’s daughter Sari sings with him on another ballad, “Under the Shadows,” and the wide-open “Great Pyramid.” Andersen penned all the tunes on Beat Avenue, paying literary homage along the way -- especially on the title cut -- by turning to songwriters or poets to enliven his stories.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Beat Avenue is 60-year-old Eric Andersen's most ambitious album, a 90-minute tour de force that encapsulates his musical and lyrical concerns over a lifetime. The music is often-dense rock dominated by a rhythm section led by guitarist Eric Bazilian of the Hooters. Equally dense is Andersen's highly poetic versifying, which he sings in his gruff baritone. Andersen is world-weary in these songs, roaming the globe haunted by the past and fearful of the future. He confesses to a reckless youth, but acknowledges that he can no longer afford such license. "What once was Charles Bukowski", he sings in "Before Everything Changed," referring to the free-living beat poet, "is now Emily Dickinson." The ballads and love songs "Song of You and Me," "Shape of a Broken Heart," "Under the Shadows," and "Still Looking for You" are rendered tenderly, but they are also full of regret and loss, past-tense reflections that recount memories of love long gone. The first disc of Beat Avenue is complete and formidable unto itself, but there is a second CD consisting of two lengthy songs. The title track, running more than 26 minutes, is a beat poem with jazzy accompaniment by Robert Aaron in which Andersen recalls a poetry reading he attended as a 20-year-old on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac come up in his reminiscence, along with friends and fellow musicians, as he conjures up the sound and feel of the early '60s in San Francisco and pinpoints a moment when history changed, revealing how it felt for one young observer. This isn't folk music of the type with which Andersen is generally associated, and it can be demanding of the listener, but it is also a compelling transformation of memory into art song.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/25/2003
Label:
Appleseed Records
UPC:
0611587106827
catalogNumber:
1068

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Eric Andersen   Primary Artist,Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Piano,Vocals
Mark Egan   Electric Bass
Phoebe Snow   Vocals,Background Vocals
Lucy Kaplansky   Background Vocals
Robert Aaron   Organ,Bass,Flute,Guitar,Piano,Trumpet,Electric Bass,Keyboards,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Melodica
Eric Bazilian   Electric Guitar
Garth Hudson   Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Tenor Saxophone
Dennis McDermott   Shaker,Hi Hat
Shawn Pelton   Drums
Michael Visceglia   Electric Bass
Billy Masters   Slide Guitar
Joyce Andersen   Violin
Katia Cadet   Background Vocals
Sari Andersen   Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Eric Andersen   Composer,Producer
Bob Dylan   Author
Lisa Stewart   Composer
Robert Aaron   Composer,Producer
Geddy Lee   Composer
Alex Lifeson   Composer
Neil Peart   Composer
David Seitz   Engineer
Rachael Shock   Engineer
Carol Rothman   Executive Producer
Rae Shock   Engineer

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