Friday, March 30, 2007


My friend and colleague Noel Murray's recent blog post dislodged a traumatic food experience worth sharing, if only so no one else out there makes the same mistake I did this Tuesday. Hungry for a snack, I hit our vending machine and picked up a bag of something called 360s after a cursory glance at packaging promising cheese and pretzels. Thinking it was a rip-off of Combos, a snack favorite since their introduction in the '80s, I opened the package to be greeted by orange pellets that practically glowed. These weren't pieces of cheese surrounded by pretzels; these were pretzels surrounded by cheese. The packaging promised "real cheese" but the "cheddar" looked instead like pieces of clay covered in glaze.

They tasted much the same. I downed three pellets and shared one with a co-worker before trashing them. I'm no stranger to junk food, but this looked like some human equivalent of dry dog food.

The weird thing is you shouldn't have any trouble avoiding them. When I Googled them I found only sites that sold food in bulk to fundraising groups. One contained this note: "Due to the nature of this item, we do not accept returns for this product." I can only imagine some poor Boy Scout in Duluth who has to live with a closet of these once word-of-mouth got out. So how did they end up in an office in Chicago? The mystery deepens.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The ever-delightful Stevie turns 29 today. She will be accepting message of good will both at her own blog and here. Hooray for my lovely wife!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


(Okay, just go ahead and say it like the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons: Worst. Vacation. Ever.)

Today is my first day back at the office after the waterborn toxic even that left us all office-less for six week. And it feels good. I had mixed feelings about going back. I'd kind of settled into a nice groove rolling out of bed and into the office. But I think if I'd stayed much longer I would have settled into a nice funk as well. I always already starting to feel it this week when, until I came up with a "to do" list and made myself work through it, felt a bit directionless. It didn't help that the pile of crap I kept bringing home from the temporary office the business staff was using was piling up around my feet. I never realized just how weak the signal-to-noise ratio in all the promo CDs and DVDs we get in until my home became a depository for it all.

It's weird: I could probably swing being a full-time freelancer (emotionally, at least... I'm not sure I could make it work financially.) And I don't mind an office routine, especially since my company is pretty understanding about letting us work at home when we need to. (Which for me is about three times a month when I can't stand the distractions of human company in any form any more.) But this working at home while working for a company business is not an enviable life. There were times I would have loved to have taken my laptop to a library or a coffee shop but couldn't because I felt I needed to be near a phone. And I did. There were fires that had to get put out daily. And there were plenty of days I would have loved to have said "screw it" and just gone shopping for records and comics all day. But I couldn't do that either.

It was getting old and I kept having this urge to cut my hair off that didn't pass until today. (Not in a Britney-sort-of-way. Just much shorter after intentionally growing it out into a moppy thing for a while. Why? I don't know. Blame it on the quasi-shut-in lifestyle. I also realized that, apart from Stevie, I wasn't really talking to anyone else and kind of losing the touch for it. A few more weeks and I'm pretty sure I would have turned into Max Von Sydow in Hannah And Her Sisters. ("Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling?")

So I welcome the return to office life, even though our office is still problematic. I'm going to try set up a little isolated office within the office so I can have some privacy for once. We'll see how that goes. Also, it's orange. Really orange. How orange? This orange:

Yeah. That orange.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I can't let this pass without a post:

But to apologize for the indirect self-promotion, here's some piano-playing cats:


I'm currently reading Gerri Hirshey's Nowhere To Run: The Story Of Soul Music. It's good, too, and kind of sad so far. Published in the early-'80s, it draws heavily on conversations with soul giants who were, by and large, not doing so well in the post-disco era. But I digress. Here's a great quote about soul music from Screamin' Jay Hawkins, interviewed by Hirshey shortly after Hawkins opened for the Rolling Stones:

"Now I never sung that stuff, but I like it, what they call soul. That stuff got heaven and hell in it." He laughs. "Me I guess you have to say I spent most o my time on the dark end of the street."

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Edwin Starr and Blinky, Just We Two (1969)

I'd never heard of this album before spotting it at Reckless Records in Chicago but who could resist that cover? This was an album Edwin Starr recorded after "Agent Double-O-Soul" but before "War," working with another new Motown signing, an L.A. preacher's daughter named Blinky. It's a pretty inspired pairing, too. Starr's a belter, and like The Four Tops' Levi Stubbs he pushes the Funk Brothers outside the assembly-line comfort zone. (James Jamerson's bass work is worth the price alone.) Blinky's clearly someone's who grew up listening to gospel and pop and decided she didn't have to choose between them.

Starr would go one to release "War" the next year, one of the few hit songs from the classic Motown era that wears thin over time, especially since he displays a much greater range here than that song's one-note grunting. You won't hear it on too much after "War" either, certainly not on the dreadful disco hit "H.A.P.P.Y. Radio." And Blinky? She apparently kept recording material that never saw the light of day then went on to open for Sammy Davis Jr. before disappearing from the scene. Listening to this it's hard to understand why.

When I started this I decided only to post from albums that aren't available on CD, not realizing that this had come out, in a limited edition, on Hip-O's online-only arm Hip-O select (a.k.a. The site that could eat up the Phipps family fortune if I bought everything from it I liked, like those big Motown singles collections and the James Brown singles series). So, in the interest of fairness, here's a link, and two of the album's best tracks. Dig the way Starr calls Blinky out by name on "I'll Understand." He almost makes the ridiculous name sound sexy.


Recently I answered an open call for submissions from Contiuum Press' 33 1/3 series, a run of monograph-like books dedicated to classic albums. Out of 450 submissions they chose 20. Mine wasn't one of them, which is fine, although I was hoping it would be. Meanwhile, my big piece of Memphis music movies was pushed from the issue it was slated to run in with the possibility it might run in a future issue. Might.

So my freelance writing sideline is at an impasse at the moment. Which is okay, I guess. I've got plenty to do for The A.V. Club, which always publishes my writing to an audience that seems to like it. But I would have liked to have written this book and I would have liked to see my Memphis work pay off. Which it might still. Might.

Anyway, below is my rejected proposal in the interest of just getting it out there. I'm not rereading it, especially since I've thought of ways to improve it ever since I sent it. If it's riddled with typos or misspellings, please don't let me know. That would just depresss me. Also, you should hear the album. It's amazing.

* * * * * *

First let me say that I was thrilled to see you had opened the door for submissions for 33 1/3. I’m a big fan of the series and would love to contribute. With that out of the way, let me get right down to it and propose doing a book on an amazing album I can’t believe you haven’t covered yet: Jerry Lee Lewis Live At The Star Club, Hamburg.


It’s an album recorded at a crossroads, both for Lewis and for rock and roll, and I would approach it as such. Having seen scandal diminish his commercial fortunes, Lewis has left Sun Records and Sam Phillips for Smash and an unsure future that, in 1964, has yet to pay off. Yet while the hits have dried up domestically, Lewis’ stock has risen abroad. A return to England, the country that unmade him, has been a great success. He has no shortage of fans in Germany either, wildly enthusiastic fans who chant his name when he plays The Star Club in the heart of Hamburg’s nightclub-and-red-light-district, the Reeperbahn. It’s the district that helped birth The Beatles and other British Invasion bands, a wave of rock and roll musicians who grew up worshipping Lewis and his peers, a generation they’re already eclipsing.

One of the bands chasing The Beatles will back Lewis at the Star Club set, The Nashville Teens, who, despite their name, hail from throughout the U.K. They’re soon to have a hit with “Tobacco Road” then begin a slow fade back to obscurity. On this album, they almost seem to be doing battle with Lewis, his inimitable singing and playing outpacing their secondhand competence. They play the British Invasion sound well, but there’s no mistaking it for anything but a copy of a copy made irrelevant here by the presence of an original. As Lewis races through his own hits, and the hits of others from his generation, they’ll lose the battle even if others will win the war for them.

Lewis remains, as ever, a tortured man, believing that the music at which he excels has already spelled his eternal damnation. He’s still haunted by the loss of his toddler son, Steve Allen Lewis, who died in the family swimming pool. His marriage with Myra Lewis, the cousin he married when she was 13, remains volatile. There’s joy in his playing in front of that chanting crowd, but something else as well. Performing high on amphetamines, the state in which he would continue to perform well into the 1990s, he adds his own flourishes to the lyrics. When he sings, “Jerry Lee’s going to rock away all his blues,” while playing “High School Confidential,” there’s exuberance to it but also some wishful thinking. He’s a few years away from a comeback with the country hit “Another Time, Another Place,” but a performance of Hank Williams’ “Your Cheating Heart” gives a hint of the guilt-soaked records that will send him up the country charts.

Recorded in a time of great change for Lewis and the music he helped popularize, Live At The Star Club, Hamburg provides a jumping off point for further discussion—of both Lewis and the environment surrounding the creation of the album—with virtually every song. I would structure this book around the album’s set list, discussing the origins of each song, its particular relevance to Lewis as a recording artist, and it relation to a larger discussion. The autobiographical “Lewis Boogie,” for instance, would lead into a discussion of Lewis’ origins. With “Great Balls Of Fire,” a song built around the twisting of Pentecostal imagery into a sexual sacrilege, I would talk about Lewis’ religious beliefs. Other points of discussion would include ‘60s Hamburg (a scene as wild and open in its way as ‘50s Memphis), Lewis’ relationship with the artists and rivals whose hits he’s covering (including Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and, with “Money,” Motown), and the unhappy decades awaiting him as he sank successfully into the sounds of country remorse.

As for the biographical information, I’m the editor of The A.V. Club, the entertainment section of The Onion. I began at The A.V. Club as a freelancer, then worked as assistant editor before becoming editor and I’ve written thousands (no, really) of music and film reviews for it, in addition to interviewing everyone from Sam Phillips to Robert Altman. During my tenure there I’ve helped build a section that was once an afterthought to the satirical news into a respected publication in its own right. I would be the best possible person to write this book both because of my deep love of the music and because of my willingness to throw myself into a project until I’m second-to-none in expertise. What I don’t know about Lewis and this album already I intend to research thoroughly both through secondary sources and by consulting as many primary sources as I can track down. I zeroed in on this album as the result of writing a piece for an upcoming issue of REDACTED on portrayals of Memphis music in film. I’ve long been drawn to the place and period that created the early sounds of rock and soul music, but it was Lewis that I couldn’t let go of when I finished the piece. I would like to write a book with the unmistakable intensity of a Jerry Lee Lewis performance and the scholarly discipline I’ve admired in other volumes in this series. My favorite so far: Douglas Wolk’s Live At The Apollo, which captured the personality of the performance itself, provided illuminating facts about its context, and breathed with a personality all its own.

I sincerely hope you’ll give me the opportunity to write an entry that can live up to the high standards you’ve set so far.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


UPDATE:This ended up being a draft for a more polished piece I published on The A.V. Club blog. You can read it here. It's much better than this version.]

Another Tuesday means another Tuesday-night screening, this time for 300, an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel about the 300 Spartans who held off an army of Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. I went with my friend and colleague Nathan Rabin and I'm honestly not sure how to respond to the film. On the way back we couldn't decide if what we'd just seen was thrillingly repulsive of repulsively thrilling.

One thing's for sure, it's a fairly faithful adaptation of Miller's book. Like Sin City it tries its best to mimic the look of Miller's art, shooting on soundstages, filling in the backgrounds with CGI effects, and opting for stylization over realism. There are a few notable additions: On their way to Thermopylae the Spartans, led by Gerard Butler's Leonidas, stumble upon a village that's been destroyed by the Persian army, leaving only one small child to tell the tale. Before dying. And there's a lot of business with Leonidas' wife, who's left behind to try to persuade the Spartan council that maybe standing up to the Persians wouldn't be such a bad idea. Both bits feel a lot like padding even if they play into the most disturbing aspect of the Zack Snyder-directed film: Somehow in the translation from page to screen it's become a screaming endorsement of fascism.

That's not a word I want to throw around lightly and I know I'm not quite literally dead-on, since Sparta wasn't a fascist state. But the film doesn't dwell on the finer points of Spartan statecraft. What it offers is vision of society in which value comes only from one's devotion to the preservation of the state. The Sparatans worked toward one purpose, strengthening their city state through raw might. They practiced a brutal version kind of eugenics, discarding any babies found to be flawed. Miller's book portrays all of this with an unabashed admiration for its barbaric integrity. But admiring aspects of ancient principles isn't the same as endorsing them and that's something that gets lost on the way to the screen.

I'm not suggesting that the filmmakers are looking for a Spartan revival, but in moving from one medium to another, 300 has gained a layer of glamour with some disturbing implications. The fight scenes are brutal but, as our own Tasha Robinson points out in her review, so completely divorced from realism that they become oddly bloodless no matter how much blood fills the screen. Snyder shoots the battle scenes with a dynamic intensity, slowing it down to dwell on the good bits. It's thrilling. And it's only thrilling. There's no sense of danger. Death comes with no feeling of loss. Part of what bugged me so much about Troy a few years back was that, even while telling the original war story, it shirked its responsibilities as a war movie, boiling down a devastating, decade-long conflict to what looked like a bloody spring break. Here it's like a weekend with the boys gone slightly awry.

Nathan said he couldn't remember a movie so unabashedly pro-war. I can't remember one so unabashedly pro-nationalism. The Spartans here constantly define themselves by what they are not. When an envoy from Xerxes mentions Athens, Leonidas dismisses them as "boy lovers." (There's an inconvenient truth about that distinction.) When Xerxes meets Leonidas, the film plays up his ambiguous sexuality and not-so-ambiguous body language. And it's not just behavior that's un-Spartan. The Persian army consists of Middle Easterners, East Asians, and Africans. If the film never quite treats the other races as repulsive, it doesn't hesitate to emphasize their exoticism and danger, elements that clearly have no place in an ordered, Spartan society.

Any resemblance to our own is not entirely coincidental. Miller's book was released in 1998, years before our current conflict in the gulf. But a film's a product of its time and it would be hard not to draw parallels even if the screenplay didn't throw in touches to make the connection even clearer. There's a lot of bellowing about "freedom" (nevermind all that compulsory military service), a feckless, corrupt anti-war legislative body to deal with and the film ends with Sparta leading all of Greece in a battle against mystic force from the East. A shameless recruiter would spend this weekend trolling the multiplexes.

300 plays like Starship Troopers without the irony and it closes on a note of triumph that shuts out the great irony of history. The repulsion of the Persion army paved the way for a golden age, one that allowed for Sophocles, Plato, Euripides, Heordotus... you name it. And it lasted about 80 years until a fairly pointless civil war between Sparta and Athens ended it. But that would have to be the subject of a very different sort of movie. Don't expect a sequel.


Anyone who's spent any time in used record stores—and I'm speaking here as someone who's logged plenty of hours in them—knows that a few things are always true:

1) They all smell the same
2) They're always poorly lit
3) There's always plenty of Herb Alpert and Chet Atkins albums laying around for cheap.

I once decorated a small niche of an especially crappy apartment with copies of Alpert's Whipped Cream And Other Delights, but I'd never spent much time with Atkins until recently. Atkins ran RCA's Nashville division for years, pioneering the crossover "Nashville sound" that would help define country music in the '60s. Atkins also cut a lot of albums on his own, usually two or three a year. He'd typically lay down rhythm tracks at RCA's famed Studio B, a facility he'd put on the map, and record the leads at his home studio.

Atkins recorded many instrumental versions of contemporary hits, but even the renditions that border on easy-listening kitsch are usually redeemed by his distinctive playing. I picked up Solid Gold '69 in part because I simply couldn't imagine Atkins' versions of "Son Of A Preacher Man" or "Aquarius" and in part because I never pass up any rendition of "Hey Jude." But the standout tracks are the sensitive readings of "Both Sides Now" and "Blackbird" I've posted below.

One more thing: For some reason Donovan does the liner notes. There aren't any Donovan songs on it and if he appears on it somewhere, it eluded me. But the note is worth reproducing verbatim:

chet paul's tunes sensitive love for love young brownskin harp ear good for nice sounds but of fuzz great face beautiful guitar fondling country smooth like strings and cream joni's tune lovely classical box rewind once upon a time irish music went west and fiddles and jest country music came from the marriage of men's cultures under new suns and now c & w is very popular in ireland... and chet is very popular in america and i thank him for playing "our" new tune so beautifully. -- Donovan

Well said.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"Maybe even a sandwich platter"

This is primarily going to be of interest to my fellow Daytonians. It's a tour of the Dayton Swim Club, a North Dixie Dr. institution that I've driven past many times without realizing that, well, it wasn't a swim club. Let's take a tour!

I think I'd love this clip anyway. The host is just so dang jovial as he shows off all the low-budget benefits of joining the Swim Club. Soda machines! A video game! A mechanical horse with a vibrator glued onto it! Amazing.

Monday, March 05, 2007


RECENT FILMS I HAVE SEEN: Zodiac, Summer Rental, and a secret surprise movie even I didn't expect to see

Putting aside the Neil LaBute remake of The Wicker Man, David Fincher's Zodiac, which I caught last Tuesday, was one of the most disturbing films I've seen in a while, and not necessarily for the reasons you might suspect. In recreating the investigation into the late-'60s/early-'70s Zodiac murders, Fincher doesn't spare any of the grisly details—there's a murder by a lake that's all the more disturbing for its unflinching matter-of-factness—but what he gets really right is the psychic toll of obsession and the cancerous effect of an unanswered wrong. In a blind taste test I couldn't have told you that this was from the same director as Seven, Fight Club, and Panic Room. They're all films I admire, but the the nihilism of the first two has been transformed here into a muted dread. It settles like a haze on a San Francisco that's left the Summer Of Love far behind and the technical flash, so much in evidence in Panic never calls attention to itself here. It's technically brilliant, but in a chilly, Kubrickian kind of way. Even when blood gets spilled it looks cold.

Here's how our own Scott Tobias put it (and put it well):

Zodiac follows the events in strict chronology, without imposing an artificial structure. This daring conceit risks shapelessness, but makes the passage of time more devastating, as datelines separated by days or weeks extend to full years while the case lies fallow.

Devastating's exactly right. Watch as Robert Downey Jr.'s character devolves from funny drunk to a pathetic, almost inhuman lump of a man. Maybe he would have gotten there without the Zodiac killer. Maybe not. The film never veers from this strategy. Labels like "Six months later..." pop up between scenes as the leads grow cold. It's comic until it becomes tragic.

There are moments here that need discussing that can't quite be talked about without spoilig the plot. But I need to talk about one, so I'll vague it up as best I can. After a long stretch of scenes that's little more than characters discussing leads and finding out that everybody knows something about the case but nobody knows everything—there are lots of passages like this—one of the characters follows a lead into a moment straight out of The Silence Of The Lambs. He's in the wrong place at the wrong time and it's clearly going to cost him. Except it doesn't. It's a dead end followed by trusting someone else's wrong instincts, something we don't find out until many scenes later, maybe years for him (I can't remember). But the film doesn't make a big deal acknowledging this. The character's moment of mortal fear becomes irrelevant to him since it turned out not to contribute to solving the murders. It's exhausting to share that kind of paranoia and monomania for two and a half hours and Fincher makes it clear it's just a sample of what it would be to live it and there's no small reward in that.


I don't have a lot to say about the 1985 comedy Summer Rental, which I watched, kind of, while doing some file sorting at the end of the day last week. (Ah, the joys of working at home.) It was one of those films I alway wanted to see as a kid and never got around to seeing. And now I've seen it. With Summer School another film on my Netflix queue, it comes from a brief period in the mid-'80s when Carl Reiner was synonymous with summer comedies. It also came from that period when John Candy was in seemingly everything. Here the gags are cheap and belabored and the plots straight from the snobs v. slobs playbook. Watching it was purely an exercise in reflexive nostalgia and the most rewarding part came from being reminded of what old cereal boxes used to look like. I used to think there was some value to watching just about any movie I hadn't seen before. As I get older I'm not so sure. (Which doesn't mean I'm not going to watch Summer School too.)


So the big secret movie: When we saw Zodiac there was a marketing type there offering us passes to one of two movies. The first was The Brave One, a Neil Jordan film starring Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard. All that sounds promising. The second was a mystery movie. The marketing woman said that all she could tell us was that it would be rated PG and that it came from, "this genre of film," at which point she waved her hand across a sheet of paper listing everything from Cars to Pirates Of The Caribbean. Hmmm.... Something sure to be interesting or a mystery movie? The choice was clear: We went with the mystery movie.

There was much fuss and bother in getting to the screening and a lot of line-waiting as well. By the time we got inside we'd convinced ourselves we would be seeing Fred Claus since the passes, upon closer inspection, further specified it was a "holiday" movie and we knew it was in post-production in Chicago since the media was all over star Vince Vaughn for complaining about our city's post-production services. We were wrong. Long story short (and maybe these magic words will send my traffic through the roof): I've seen Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.

How was it? I'm not even sure I should say. Ethically, I'm not even sure I should have been there since I don't think critics are even supposed to go to test screenings. But I'm not reviewing it professionally so screw it. I liked it, anyway, so I'm not poisoning any wells.

When the film series started, I didn't have much invested in it and, frankly, the films didn't really reward investment. I had only read the first book, which I liked just fine, but the first two films were kind of a bore. I remembered little beyond Kenneth Branagh's sly turn in the second one and Rupert Grint's ability to look either mortified or terrified (but never both at the same time and never any other emotion .)

The third film, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban changed that in a big way. The story deepened considerably (just as it did in the books), the stars grew into their roles, and director Alfonso Cuaron got beneath the special effects to find the human element. At the same time, I caught up with the series (thanks in no small part to Stevie's enthusiasm; she screamed like an eight-year-old when they announced what we were seeing) and the quality of the films started to matter to me.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire fell short of its predecessor but it wasn't bad, either. It just got a little too caught up in the big setpieces and lost sight of the characters. That's not a problem here. The massive plot's been streamlined considerably, but it's been streamlined smartly. There are a few scenes that will mean a lot more to readers of the book but having read the book isn't essential. But director David Yates (who's previously worked mostly in British television) strikes a pretty great balance between the kind of drama that comes from big scary monsters and the kind that comes from realizing how easy it is to feel absolutely isolated from eveyone around you. The first shot's a killer and the only effect is a piece of abandoned playground equipment. Yates is sticking around for the next entry, too, and that's not bad news at all.

Everybody's good in it, too, but I have to single out Imelda Staunton's turn as Dolores Umbridge, a teacher with the most memorable talent for passive aggression since Uriah Heep. Some of J.K. Rowling's political subtext might have been lost if Staunton hadn't played her as Thatcher with fixation on cute kitten collector plates. She might be slightly less fist-tighteningly hateful than she was in the book, but only slightly.

I can't really say I enjoyed the test-screening process. It's a vile practice that's crept evolved from a marketing tool into an intrinsic part of the creative process. That's wrong. And, furthermore, this wasn't quite ready to screen. Many of the effects weren't done, and they got less complete as the film went along. I'd like to see it again with a climax that doensn't involve Ralph Fiennes with CGI-assist dots on his face battling Michael Gambon on a soundstage. But it was interesting to be on the other side of it, tiny pencils at all. We were asked for our favorite and least favorite scenes, asked to rate various elements on a scale of one to five, and questioned about our favorite characters. If we'd all hated one scene, would it be gone? If we'd ganged up on Daniel Radcliffe, could he have lost his job? Who knows? I'm sure they'll ignore my comments anyway. I'm out of the demo. Who cares what I think?

Thursday, March 01, 2007


(First: Sorry so long between posts. The next couple of days should be better. In the meantime, here's some more from my continuing efforts to transfer some vinyl music to MP3s.)

When Sinead O'Connor had a hit with "Nothing Compares 2 U," articles about her always touched on a few points:
1) She's bald
2) She's odd
3) U2 helped her get her start
4) She's Irish
5) Prince wrote it

But Prince didn't write it for O'Connor. He wrote it for The Family, might've-been-huge-but-wasn't Paisley Park act consisting of three refugees from the recently disbanded Time (St. Paul Peterson, Jellybean Johnson, and percussionist/hype man Jerome Benton), saxophonist/vocalist Eric Leeds, and Susannah Melvoin, twin sister of The Revolution's Wendy Melvoin.

They released one album in 1985, but even by the time I got curious about hearing the original version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" and was already buying up every Prince b-side I could get my hands on, it was hard to find. Was it some lost treasure of Minneapolis funk? I finally had my question answered recently when I found a vinyl copy for $5.99. Answer: No.

But it's not bad either, as these two tracks suggest. "Screams Of Passion" was the single and while I'm not going to say that this version of "Nothing" surpasses O'Connor's or the version Prince threw on his greatest hits collection. But it's worth hearing anyway.

P.S. The new embedded file-sharing system comes via a free site called Divshare, which I recommend.