Largo

Largo

by Largo
     
 
It's one thing to call yourself Americana. Unfortunately, doing so almost guarantees that you ain't it. Largo is everything Americana should be. It is also (easily) one of the most ambitious albums of the digital era. Just their luck: they hit a home run while the entire crowd was out in the beer line. Between major-label mergers and the fact that it just says "Largo"

Overview

It's one thing to call yourself Americana. Unfortunately, doing so almost guarantees that you ain't it. Largo is everything Americana should be. It is also (easily) one of the most ambitious albums of the digital era. Just their luck: they hit a home run while the entire crowd was out in the beer line. Between major-label mergers and the fact that it just says "Largo" on the cover, this flat-out masterpiece was lost in the shuffle and almost no one heard it. It is a swirling concept album touching on believable stories seen through the eyes of diverse Americans. Make no mistake, though, this is timeless rock with big hooks, not roots revivalism. Largo was produced by Rick Chertoff and his college roommate Rob Hyman of the Hooters; the two co-wrote nearly the whole album with Hooter Eric Bazilian and singer/songwriter David Foreman. The A-list talent (several of whom have hit records produced by Chertoff) is almost an embarrassment of riches, but it never sounds like a compilation album; it is focused and unified. "Freedom Ride," an out of the gates rocker, is sung by Taj Mahal. "Gimme a Stone" is a duet between Levon Helm of the Band and Foreman. It's a song for all but those who root for Goliath. Cyndi Lauper wails out on "White Man's Melody," and Joan Osborne turns in a memorable vocal "An Uncommon Love," a Carole King co-write that King also sings on. Osborne is also all over "Hand in Mine," which features a bleary-eyed co-lead from Hyman, whose knack for universal melodies is on full display on the track (and the whole album). Foreman's voice is deep and resonant, and his performances (as on the down, dirty, and devastating "Disorient Express" and the ballad "Largo's Dream") make you wonder where this guy has been all these years. Willie Nile turns up for the punky "Medallion," a song about a Pakistani cab driver working to make enough money to bring his family over. These songs are about people you might meet, not some spent myth. The album has several versions of Dvorak's "Largo" (performed by the likes of the Chieftains and Garth Hudson of the Band) which separate the groups of songs; it was Dvorak's trip to the New World that inspired Largo. The album has been completely out of print for years, but Roger Daltrey (who performs "Freedom Ride" and "Gimmie a Stone" live) pressured online retailers to provide a digital option. Although a commercial stiff the first time around, Largo is getting a second life on Broadway, and the show is currently in production. Some great albums need to grow on you, but the many virtues of Largo are apparent from the very first listen.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/28/1998
Label:
Polygram Records
UPC:
0731453687721
catalogNumber:
536877

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Largo   Primary Artist
Taj Mahal   Dobro,Harmonica,Vocals,Barking
Derek Bell   Harp,Irish Harp
Matt Molloy   Flute
Mark Egan   Bass,Fretless Bass Guitar
Carole King   Vocal Harmony
Cyndi Lauper   Bowed Dulcimer,Vocal Harmony
Giovanni Hidalgo   Shakuhachi,Conga,Udu
David Forman   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Chant,Vocal Harmony
Seán Keane   Fiddle
Eric Bazilian   Bass,Mandolin,12-string Guitar,Hurdy-Gurdy,Guitar (Tremolo)
Rick Chertoff   Trumpet,Drums,Baritone Saxophone,Background Vocals,Washboard,Peck Horn
Kevin Conneff   Bodhran
Martin Fay   Fiddle
Levon Helm   Vocals
Garth Hudson   Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Soprano,Accordion,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Tarogato
Rob Hyman   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Accordion,Electric Piano,Vocals,farfisa organ,bass pedals,Vocal Harmony,Cordovox
Andy Kravitz   Drums
Paddy Moloney   uillean pipes,tin whistle
Fran Smith   Bass
David Uosikkinen   Drums
William Wittman   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,12-string Guitar
Joan Osborne   Vocals
Steve Rust   Upright Bass
Maud Hudson   Vocals

Technical Credits

Taj Mahal   Contributor
Chieftains   Contributor
Carole King   Contributor
Cyndi Lauper   Contributor
Willie Nile   Contributor
David Forman   Contributor
Eric Bazilian   Contributor
Rick Chertoff   Producer
Levon Helm   Contributor
Garth Hudson   Arranger,Contributor
Rob Hyman   Producer
Paddy Moloney   Arranger
William Wittman   Engineer
Joan Osborne   Contributor

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