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Talk Normal: The Laurie Anderson Anthology
     

Talk Normal: The Laurie Anderson Anthology

by Laurie Anderson
 
Twenty years ago, Laurie Anderson was the epitome of the performance-art scene, playing a bizarre handmade tape-head violin and reciting strange little poems in a calm Midwestern drawl, altered though a vocoder: "I saw a lot of trees today... and they were all made... entirely... of wood." Over time, her songs and stories have gradually approached the ideal of Talk

Overview

Twenty years ago, Laurie Anderson was the epitome of the performance-art scene, playing a bizarre handmade tape-head violin and reciting strange little poems in a calm Midwestern drawl, altered though a vocoder: "I saw a lot of trees today... and they were all made... entirely... of wood." Over time, her songs and stories have gradually approached the ideal of Talk Normal's title -- though "normal" is relative for someone whose biggest MTV hit ("Language Is a Virus") was based on a William S. Burroughs quotation. This set abridges her seven albums to two smartly programmed discs. In the case of her smashing debut Big Science and its near-pop-crossover follow-up Mister Heartbreak, the track selection here is just a matter of hitting the highlights, like the unforgettable "O Superman" (the strangest No. 2 U.K. hit ever) and the Peter Gabriel duet "Excellent Birds." With her later albums, the point is more salvaging decent stuff that works out of context -- the five-LP set United States I-IV is condensed to seven tracks. The essay in the 50-page booklet is light on revelations -- it's based on other publications' interviews with Anderson -- but the copious performance photos of Anderson are terrific. There are no rarities or pre-Warner Bros. material here, but it's a concise survey of the career of a fine American storyteller and a great American weirdo.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Talk Normal: The Laurie Anderson Anthology gathers 35 career highlights that range from Anderson's most performance art-oriented material to her poppiest moments. Leading off with "O Superman (For Massenet)," her unlikely 1981 hit, the first disc pares down Big Science -- itself a distillation of her four-hour piece United States -- to its starkest and most hypnotic tracks, including "From the Air," "Born, Never Asked," and the title track. "Sharkey's Day," "Excellent Birds," and "Langue D'Amour," all from the more melodic, emotional Mister Heartbreak, close out disc one, along with more pieces from United States, including "Walk the Dog," "Cartoon Song," and "Lighting Out for the Territories." Similarly, the second disc picks highlights from the Home of the Brave soundtrack -- "Smoke Rings" and "Language Is a Virus" chief among them -- and includes six tracks from her most melodic, song-structured album, Strange Angels. "Coolsville," "The Day the Devil," and the title track work especially well outside of the album's context and mix nicely with Bright Red tracks like "Speak My Language" and "In Our Sleep." The anthology closes with a sampling of The Ugly One With the Jewels' vignettes, including "The Night Flight From Houston," "The Rotowhirl," and "The End of the World." Though the anthology distills Anderson's work so much that it tends to blur the character of her individual albums, Talk Normal still presents most of the nuances in Anderson's distant yet open, ironic yet emotional style. For new listeners who want a bigger, more representative picture of Anderson's work than Big Science provides, Talk Normal is a good starting point.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/17/2000
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227664824
catalogNumber:
76648

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Laurie Anderson   Primary Artist,Percussion,Violin,Keyboards,Marimbas,Stick,Vocals,Synclavier,Hand Clapping,farfisa organ,Vocoder,oberheim,electronics
Scott Johnson   Guitar
"Blue" Gene Tyranny   Keyboards
Daniel Ponce   Bells,Iya,Shekere
Adrian Belew   Guitar
Peter Gabriel   Background Vocals,Synclavier,Linn Drum
Peter Laurence Gordon   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals,Prophet Synthesizer
Bill Laswell   Bass
Bobby McFerrin   Vocals
Alex Foster   Alto Saxophone
Chris Spedding   Guica
Nile Rodgers   Guitar
Darryl Tookes   Choir, Chorus
Jimi Tunnell   Guitar
Lisa Fischer   Choir, Chorus
B.J. Nelson   Choir, Chorus
Joey Baron   Drums
Guy Klucevsek   Accordion
Tawatha Agee   Background Vocals
Robert Arron   Saxophone
Joy Askew   Keyboards
Manolo Badrena   Percussion
Phillip Ballou   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Cyro Baptista   Tambourine,Triangle,Surdo,Shaker
Roma Baran   Bass,Harmonica,Stick,Hand Clapping,farfisa organ,Casio
Jimmy Bralower   Drums
Michelle Cobbs   Background Vocals
Greg Cohen   Bass
Kenny Kosek   Violin
Anne DeMarinis   Synclavier,oberheim
Benny Diggs   Background Vocals,Choir Director
Brian Eno   Keyboards,Loops
Anton Fier   Drums
Diane Garisto   Background Vocals
Sue Hadjopoulas   Percussion
Perry Hoberman   Flute,Saxophone,Stick,Bottle,Hand Clapping
Kevin Jones   Synclavier
Robbie Kilgore   Bass,Keyboards
Brenda White-King   Background Vocals
Curtis King   Background Vocals
Joe Kos   Vocals
Richard Landry   Clarinet,Saxophone
Dave Lebolt   Keyboards
Tony Levin   Chapman Stick
Paulette McWilliams   Choir, Chorus
Hugh McCracken   Harmonica
Dollette McDonald   Background Vocals
Brenda Nelson   Background Vocals
Bill Obrecht   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Janice Pendarvis   Background Vocals
Lenny Pickett   Tenor Saxophone
Geraldine Pontius   Vocals
Robert Sabino   Keyboards
Peter Scherer   Bass
John Selolwane   Guitar
Frank Simms   Background Vocals
Mike Thorne   Keyboards
David Van Tieghem   Drums,Marimbas,Timpani,Roto Toms
Jamie West-Oram   Guitar
Gib Wharton   Pedal Steel Guitar
Diane Wilson   Choir, Chorus
Gerry Leonard   Guitar
Bill Buchen   Percussion
Lew Del Gatto   Baritone Saxophone
Chuck Fisher   Saxophone
Angela Clemmons   Choir, Chorus
Bakithi Kumalo   Fretless Bass Guitar
T-Bone Wolk   Accordion

Technical Credits

Peter Gabriel   Producer
Bill Laswell   Producer
Roma Baran   Producer,Engineer
Hugh Brown   Art Direction
Greg Cohen   Music Direction
Brian Eno   Producer
Ben Fenner   Engineer
Joe Ferla   Engineer
Alec Head   Engineer
Bill Inglot   Producer
Kevin Killen   Engineer
David McLees   Producer
Ted Myers   Annotation
Gary Peterson   Annotation
Lenny Pickett   Horn Arrangements
Mike Thorne   Percussion Programming
Leanne Ungar   Engineer
Eric Liljestrand   drum programming
Rachel Gutek   Art Direction
Bob Bielecki   System Design
Shawn Amos   Producer
Daniel Goldmark   Editorial Research
Cheryl Fugate   Annotation
Gillian Gaar   Liner Notes

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