Jonathan Richman: Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild (Vapor Records)

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Jonathan Richman: No One Was Like Vermeer
Jonathan Richman: Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild (Vapor Records)

Some people know Jonathan Richman for being the singer-songwriter in the terrific New York new wave band The Modern Lovers -- although their "terrific" period was short-lived, in truth just the debut album which was produced by John Cale and spawned the classic songs Modern World (the title track), Pablo Picasso ("never got called an asshole"), Old World, Roadrunner and the great Hospital which opens with the memorable line, "When you get out of the hospital, let me back into your life . . ."
Others know Richman for the subsequent child-like solo albums he made, and maybe most people are aware of him because of his appearance as the musician/commentator in the movie There's Something About Mary.
He's an off-one and Modern Lovers fans probably never forgave the children's stuff, Spanish albums and country songs, and the Mary people in all likelihood never bought an album by the guy.
He's an eccentric one and has certainly walked to his own drummer, although he undeniably influenced Violent Femmes and Weezer. And a lot of people covered Modern Lovers' songs.
He's never stopped making albums -- up to a couple of dozen now would be my guess -- and this one is typically odd if quite attractive. There is a song in French and another in Spanish, it is mostly just him and guitar with drummer Tommy Larkins, and he covers Leonard Cohen's Here It Is.
This isn't quite as strange as some of his albums, better than many in quite a while, but certainly a challenge to many.
I like it, it's fun. And he says, "I'm not afraid of being laughed at".
You gotta admire that quailty in anyone.
It is increasingly rare these days.

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