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Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer – Mark Kozelek

mark_kozelek__rock_n_roll_singer

Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer

(2000), 6.5/10
The Red House Painters’ final album, Old Ramon, was held up for several years by record label issues. In the meantime, Kozelek dabbled in films and created a pair of solo discs. Because Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer, the first of these, has only seven tracks, four of which are covers, it naturally assumes a relatively minor place in the Kozelek discography, yet it’s surprisingly enjoyable all the same.

Most of these songs are solo acoustic tracks, and all of these songs are relatively short; the only full band arrangement is the title track. Three of these songs are AC/DC covers, a concept which would be stretched to a full album on the following year’s What’s Next To The Moon. Cover’s almost an inaccurate term for these songs; while the lyrics are mostly intact, the music is rewritten to gentle folk arrangements. Compared with the versions on What’s Next To The Moon, this version of ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ is less effective at a lower pitch, but the full band version of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer’ here is more memorable than the acoustic rendition. The cover of John Denver’s ‘Around and Around’ is also pretty, while all of Kozelek’s originals are strong, especially the opening picking of ‘Find Me, Ruben Olivares’ and the old woman sympathy of ‘Ruth Marie’.

It’s hard to know what to rate Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer, since it’s merely seven short tracks, but it’s an excellent EP all the same, and if you can find it at a reasonable price, don’t hesitate to pick it up.

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