I recently got an e-mail alert from his website that Peter Case's self titled debut album
is now available on iTunes. This is a great deal since it's currently out of print and will cost you just short of $50 for it used. You've heard me rant on and on
about how incredible this album is and how acrimonious Pete's departure was from Geffen. We all know how much of an assface David Geffen is, so there's no need to go into all that. The good news is that somehow, the two parties have come to an agreement of sorts and 'The Man with the Blue Guitar'
is close to follow. If you don't have it, BUY IT NOW!
Along with the e-mail was a Rolling Stone Magazine review of Pete's self titled debut by David Wild that I thought was spot on...
As the leader of L.A.'s Plimsouls, Peter Case seemed like just another West Coast hook recycler whose band got signed to a major label during the post-Knack power-pop blitz. But even back then there was reason to believe that Case was capable of more; the most notable evidence of this was "A Million Miles Away," a melodic, romantic rocker of heartbreaking urgency. But Peter Case delivers far more than even the Plimsouls' finest moment ever promised. This album is not just an unusually strong solo debut, it's a pull-out-the-stops masterpiece, an Americanized Imperial Bedroom.
Backed by an eccentric cast of California players, including Roger McGuinn, Van Dyke Parks, John Hiatt, Mike Campbell and Jim Keltner, Case has crafted a stunning song cycle about (as he puts it in his stream-of-consciousness liner notes) "sin and salvation." Like the best work of the Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival, Case's artfully constructed back-roads narratives have a mysterious, timeless quality. There's also a pervasive wistfulness to Case's songs that's reminiscent of the Byrds. This isn't meant to suggest that Case is any sort of revivalist. If this album proves anything, it's that he has made the big jump and hit upon a powerful sound of his own.
The strength of a song like "Small Town Spree"
is the poetic restraint with which Case recounts an acquaintance's apparently murderous indiscretions. Producer T-Bone Burnett (the bornagain hipster who, for a mere mortal, is becoming pretty damn omnipresent behind the boards) frames the song with a delicate orchestral arrangement, just one example of his sympathetic work here. Even more enigmatic is "Walk in the Woods," a haunting, folkie number in which Case trails a number of characters who head off for a stroll only to be claimed by some unnamed fate.
From the ominous lyrical tone, you'd think Peter Case would be pretty bleak going, but the record's harmonica-laden swamp sound and Case's impassioned vocals provide an uplifting musical balance to the pervasively downbeat subject matter. And ultimately what's more depressing is that there aren't more records as good as this melancholy gem. (RS 482)