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One Foot in the Grave [Expanded Edition]
     

One Foot in the Grave [Expanded Edition]

5.0 1
by Beck
 

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Recorded prior to Mellow Gold but released several months after that album turned Beck into an overnight sensation, One Foot in the Grave bolsters his neo-folkie credibility the way the nearly simultaneously released Stereopathetic Soul Manure accentuated his underground noise prankster credentials. One Foot is neatly

Overview

Recorded prior to Mellow Gold but released several months after that album turned Beck into an overnight sensation, One Foot in the Grave bolsters his neo-folkie credibility the way the nearly simultaneously released Stereopathetic Soul Manure accentuated his underground noise prankster credentials. One Foot is neatly perched between authentic folk-blues -- it opens with "He's a Mighty Good Leader," a traditional number sometimes credited to Skip James, and he rewrites Rev. Gary Davis' "You Gotta Move" as "Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods" -- and the shambolic, indie anti-folk coming out of the Northwest in the early '90s, a connection underscored by the record's initial release on Calvin Johnson's Olympia WA-based K Records, and its production by Johnson, who also sings on a couple of cuts. Parts of One Foot in the Grave may be reminiscent of other K acts, particularly the ragged parts, but it's also distinctively Beck in how it blurs lines between the past and present, the traditional and the modern, the sincere and the sarcastic. Certainly, of his three 1994 albums, One Foot errs in favor of the sincere, partially due to those folk-blues covers, but also in its overall hushed feel, its muted acoustic guitars and murmured vocals suggesting an intimacy that the words don't always convey. Much of the album is about mood as much as song, a situation not uncommon to Beck, which is hardly a problem because the ramshackle sound is charming and the songwriting is often excellent, channeling Beck's skewed sensibilities into a traditional setting, particularly on the excellent "Asshole," which is hardly as smirking as its title. It's that delicate, almost accidental, balance of exposed nerves and cutting with that sets One Foot in the Grave apart from Beck's other albums; he'd revisit this sound and sensibility, but never again was he so beguilingly ragged. [The 2009 expanded reissue of One Foot in the Grave doubles the size of the album with the addition of 16 bonus tracks, all but three -- -- the K 7"s "It's All in Your Mind," "Whiskey Can Can," and "Feather in Your Cap" -- previously unreleased. All this material falls within the boundaries of One Foot in the Grave, but it tends to move toward extremes, frequently accentuating Beck's Bob Dylan influence, at times piling on much louder guitars than anything on the album proper. "Close to God" even finds Beck playing around with electronically tweaked vocals, something common on Stereopathetic Soul Manure and Mellow Gold but unheard on One Foot, but that's an exception to the rule: most of this is simply an acoustic guitar and a voice, all the percussion coming from stomping the floorboard. So, it's essentially more of the same, but that's no bad thing because it maintains the same endearingly ramshackle charms of the main album, turning this expanded edition into a double album of small gems, frayed edges, and winning throwaways.]

Product Details

Release Date:
04/14/2009
Label:
Iliad Records
UPC:
0602527023908
catalogNumber:
001282902
Rank:
21137

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