Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox

Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox

     
 
Chris Knox is one of the pillars of New Zealand's indie rock music scene. Starting with his band Toy Love through his duo Tall Dwarfs and his solo work, he's been making interesting, challenging records for almost 30 years. When he suffered a stroke in late 2009, it was a shock, but soon Knox's musical friends and

Overview

Chris Knox is one of the pillars of New Zealand's indie rock music scene. Starting with his band Toy Love through his duo Tall Dwarfs and his solo work, he's been making interesting, challenging records for almost 30 years. When he suffered a stroke in late 2009, it was a shock, but soon Knox's musical friends and fans rallied support and Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox was born. Just looking at the list of contributors gives you an idea of how highly regarded Knox's work is. Luminaries of the Flying Nun records stable (the Bats, the Chills, the Kilgour brothers) rub shoulders with American indie rock legends (Yo La Tengo, Lambchop, the Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow), big names like Neil Finn and Stephin Merritt contribute songs, and people who haven't been heard from much lately show up to pay respect (Shayne Carter of Straitjacket Fits, Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel). It's no real surprise that the songs that sound the best are the versions done by the New Zealand acts themselves, there's something sort of magical about the island that gives songs recorded there a feel that isn't easy to re-create. The Chills, the Bats and relative newcomers the Mint Chicks all have that magic. So do the Verlaines, the Bleeding Allstars, and Alec Bathgate (who, as Knox's partner in Tall Dwarfs, also deserves some tribute). A couple of the outside artists like Jay Reatard (who had planned to work with Knox at one point) also do a fine job of capturing it. Most of the North American contingent seems satisfied to just turn in stripped-down versions of Knox's songs, which is fine but also something of a let down. Fans expecting Mangum's contribution to be anything more than him and an acoustic guitar may be let down, too, for example. That being said, Bill Callahan's "Lapse" is a hauntingly beautiful, epic-length take on the song that conjures up the ghost of Fred Neil. Yo La Tengo also turns in a lovely song, and Lou Barlow's "Song of the Tall Poppy" does a fine job of capturing the twin streams of melody and off-kilter production that runs through Knox's career. The compilation is truly a labor of love and the record's producer made the interesting choice to arrange the cover versions chronologically which gives a nice timeline effect to the proceedings. To that end, the two songs that close out the album were recorded after Knox's stroke and feature him on wordless vocals. The tracks are a testament to his will to recover, and also in the case of Tall Dwarfs' "Sunday Song," very moving. Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox is an example of a tribute album done right, and is a must for any fans of Knox or of New Zealand indie rock. Now we just need someone to release a collection of all the Knox originals!

Product Details

Release Date:
02/23/2010
Label:
Merge Records
UPC:
0673855036724
catalogNumber:
50367
Rank:
193860

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Pull Down the Shades
  2. Rebel
  3. Ain't It Nice
  4. Don't Catch Fire
  5. Luck or Loveliness
  6. Nothing's Going to Happen
  7. All My Hollowness To You
  8. Beauty
  9. Nostalgia's No Excuse
  10. Crush
  11. I've Left Memories Behind
  12. Burning Blue
  13. The Slide
  14. Grand Mal
  15. Knocked Out

Disc 2

  1. Not Given Lightly
  2. Bodies
  3. Sign the Dotted Line
  4. Lapse
  5. Growth Spurt
  6. Coloured
  7. Dunno Much About Life But I Know How To Breathe
  8. Glide
  9. Inside Story
  10. The Outer Skin
  11. What Goes Up
  12. Brave
  13. Round These Walls
  14. Just Do It
  15. My Only Friend
  16. It's Love
  17. Becoming Something Other
  18. Driftwood
  19. Song of the Tall Poppy
  20. Nappin' in Lapland
  21. Sunday Song

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brian Beattie   Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Percussion
James Dickson   Piano,Harpsichord
Neil Finn   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Sharon Finn   Bass,Vocals
Malcolm Grant   Drums
Paul Kean   Bass,Lead
Gary Olson   Trumpet,Stylophone
Martin Phillipps   Vocals
Kaye Woodward   Guitar,Vocals
Chris Knox   Vocals,Casio,Backwards Vocals
Alec Bathgate   Guitar,Vocals
David Kilgour   Percussion,Background Vocals
Hamish Kilgour   Dumbek,Jew's Harp,Breathing
Bill Callahan   Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
Darren Stedman   Drums
David Pine   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Martin Durrant   Drums,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Fiona McDonald   Background Vocals
Jordan Luck   Vocals
Sean Donnelly   Vocals
Jonathan Bree   Guitar,Percussion
A.C. Newman   Vocals
Scott Mannion   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Vocals,Omnichord
Stefan Neville   Drums
Taane Tokona   Drums
Jay Clarkson   Vocals
Rob Burns   Bass
Boh Runga   Vocals,Background Vocals
Mark Lyons   Background Vocals
Elroy Finn   Drums,Vocals
Sam Clarkson   Vocals
Sven Pettersen   Synthesizer,Guitar
Sean Neukom   Violin
Alan Starrat   Viola
Pelle Hilstrom   Electric Guitar
Myles Chen   Cello
Murray Costello   Bass
Karel Chabera   Bass
Joi Mulholland   Bass
Jade Farley   Violin
Jacob Moore   Drums
Gwen Norcliffe   Background Vocals
George D. Henderson   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Emma Bathgate   Background Vocals
Ed McWilliams   Bass,Background Vocals
Ed Knowles   Vocals
Duncan Bruce   Tabla,Tanpura
Callum Martin   Guitar
Allison Beck   Background Vocals
Gavin Hook   Vocals
Todd Knudson   Drums
Tessa Petersen   Violin
Tam Taylor   Violin
Roy Martyn   Guitar

Technical Credits

Brian Beattie   Engineer
Bryan Bell   Engineer
Paul Kean   Engineer
Gary Olson   Engineer
Martin Phillipps   Instrumentation
Alec Bathgate   Instrumentation
David Kilgour   Engineer,Instrumentation
Graeme Downes   Arranger
Mac McCaughan   Instrumentation
Liam Finn   Vocal Effect
Marc Jameson   Programming,Producer
James Woods   Engineer
Dawson   Composer
Sean Donnelly   Instrumentation
Angus McNaughton   Vocal Engineer
Jonathan Bree   Engineer
A.C. Newman   Instrumentation
Scott Mannion   Engineer
Kody Nielson   Producer
Boh Runga   Producer
Jordan Stone   Engineer
Mark Lyons   Engineer
Red & Zeke   Producer
Mike McLeod   Engineer
John Collins   Engineer
James Hoboken   Engineer
Jade Farley   Engineer
Instant Karma   Producer
Gwen Norcliffe   Engineer
Ed McWilliams   Engineer
Duncan Bruce   Producer,Engineer
David Kelly   Vocal Tracking
Vervonica Trow   Engineer
Doctor Eckhart   Engineer
Tim Bathgate   Engineer
Stephen Stedman   Engineer
Sam Ralston   Engineer
Roy Martyn   Producer,Engineer

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