Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Marshall Crenshaw on My Mind

Note: I found out about this one by pure chance. I just happened to check the artist's Web site last night. It has not appeared in any of my usual places for new releases. That's a shame.

I fell under the musical spell of Marshall Crenshaw when, as an MTV-addicted 13 year old, I saw the video "Whenever You're on My Mind". I have bought all of his records and seen him numerous times during his 25-plus-year career, but I have rarely felt the same satisfaction as listening to 'Field Day' and, later, his debut self-titled album. Whenever I make a mix of Crenshaw songs, it's always the same: I have every song from 1982 and 1983, a few live ones from around the same period and about a dozen songs from the rest of his catalog. In other words, I can always find a couple of gems on each record, but the albums as a whole have not passed my ear tests.

There has been one exception. 'Miracle of Science' is in my regular rotaton to this day. Listening to it upon its release in 1996 was like discovering Crenshaw all over again. That's why it was so disappointing to have to wait until 1999 for another studio effort, and it didn't come close to living up to its predecessor. In this decade, prior to yesterday, he only released one record, 'What's in the Bag?' For the first time in his illustrious career I didn't even find those couple of gems to put on the Crenshaw mix.

So, it's with feelings of apprehension and hope that I buy 'Jaggedland' today. I'm not expecting a power-pop juggernaut like I found as a wide-eyed teen in 1983, but it would be nice for a little reward like I got in 1996. Either way, I'll still root for this guy and try to see him. He seems like such a nice person, and his feel-good performances are always presented without an ounce of pretension. You can buy the 429 Records release (yep, another new label for Crenshaw) at Best Buy and online at Amazon and iTunes. Here's a cover of the Bobby Fuller classic from 1989 to get you in the mood.

Marshall Crenshaw - Let Her Dance (mp3)

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