Thursday, April 30, 2015

blues & roots

Charles Mingus got down to earth with the holy rolling swing of this moaning groaning jelly roll soul.   After a series of adventurous albums that included Pithecanthropus ErectusThe Clown, and East Coasting;  as well as Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Dynasty (both recorded in 1959 after Blues & Roots; but released before), Mingus accepted a challenge from producer Nesuhi Ertegün to record an entire album in the swinging blues style of "Haitian Fight Song" from The Clown.  'Blues & Roots' was recorded with a nine piece band on February 4, 1959 at Atlantic Studios in New York City with Nesuhi Ertegün producing with engineer Tom Dowd.   The session featured Charles Mingus on bass;   John Handy and Jackie McLean on alto sax;  Booker Ervin on tenor sax;  Pepper Adams on baritone sax;  Jimmy Knepper and Willie Dennis on trombone;  Dannie Richmond on drums;  and Horace Parlan on piano, except for "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too" where Mal Waldron sat in.

'Blues & Roots' 
full album:

All tracks composed by Charles Mingus.

1. Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting - 0:00
2. Cryin' Blues - 5:42
3. Moanin' - 10:44
4. Tensions - 18:48
5. My Jelly Roll Soul - 25:18
6. E's Flat Ah's Flat Too - 32:08

Original Liner Notes

My music is as varied as my feelings are, or the world is, and one composition or one kind of composition expresses only part or the total world of my music. In the notes for another album, I go into more detail as to why my pieces are so different from one another and ·don't have one specific, unalleviated mood, sound or style. At a concert or night club I call tunes in an order that I feel is right for the particular situation and what I'm trying to say in that situation. Each composition builds from the previous one, and the succession of compositions creates the statement I'm trying to make at that moment. The greatness of jazz is that it is an art of the moment. It is so particularly through improvisation, but also, in my music, through the successive relation of one composition to another. 

This record is unusual - it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. 

A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegun suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of Haitian Fight Song (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn't swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed. 

I decided to memorize the compositions and then phrase them on the piano part by part to the musicians. I wanted them to learn the music so it would be in their ears, rather than on paper, so they'd play the compositional parts with as much spontaneity and soul as they'd play a solo. And I decided to use a larger group to play in a big band form I'd like to hear that has as many lines going as there are musicians. I called musicians that I knew had great ears for playing and understanding my music. 

The first tune, Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, is church music. I heard this as a child when I went to meetings with my mother. The congregation gives their testimonial before the Lord, they confess their sins and sing and should and do a little Holy Rolling. Some preachers cast out demons, they call their dialogue talking in tongues or talking unknown tongue (language that the Devil can’t understand). The solos are taken by John Handy, Willie Dennis, Horace Parlan, Booker Ervin and Dannie Richmond.

The Cryin’ Blues is a blues without the usual tonic, sub-dominant, tonic, dominant changes. Booker Ervin opens with the group. After the last solo, Horace Parlan solos on piano, and Jackie McLean plays with the ensemble on the out chorus.

Some time before making this album I’d bought a book of Jelly Roll Morton tunes that I planned to arrange. I then misplaced the book, and later I wrote My Jelly Roll Soul – an impression of or afterthoughts on Jelly Roll’s forms and soul. The solos are by Jimmy Knepper, Horace Parlan, Jackie McLean and Dannie Richmond and I pass the progressions around in bars of four and two.

E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too is composed in pyramid lines and canon form. The solos are by Mal Waldron, Booker Ervin, Jackie McLean, John Handy and Dannie Richmond.

The solos on Tensions are by myself, Jackie McLean, Booker Ervin and Horace Parlan.

In Moanin’, each musician plays separate lines, simple blues lines.  The solos are by Jackie McLean, Pepper Adams and Booker Ervin.

We played down to earth and together, and I think this music has a tremendous amount of life and emotion.

- Charles Mingus
(as told to Diane Dorr-Dorynek) 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

colossal youth

Young Marble Giants sculpted a sparse sound in the muted monochromatic machinations of this charmingly unconventional abstract.  Brothers Philip and Stuart Moxham started the band with Philip's girlfriend Allison Statton in 1978.   Stuart Moxham says:    "There was actually a virtual fourth member of the band, a cousin of mine and Phil's, Pete Joyce.  He was a telephone engineer at the time, and a bit of a gearhead.  He built our drum machine and few other things as well.  He had a very early synthesizer which was built into a briefcase...He was quite a big influence, in that he supplied all the technical know-how, and all the gear we used.  We actually made tapes of our music as we were writing it, as we went along.  We actually made tapes on a reel-to-reel...The year before [Colossal Youth].  Most we did at home.  We just did them in order to suit what we were sounding like, really.  Before we started playing live, I had the idea to put the tapes, just locally.  I was just working at Virgin Records in Cardiff at time, and the manager there let me put a poster up and sell them in the shop.  Then we basically just put a couple of tracks on post-punk DIY compilation album called Is the War Over.  Rough Trade heard that...We never really fitted in.  Even though it was Rough Trade, it was still very much, everyone wore black and was into the Keith Richard kind of rockist idea of existence.  Black leather and drugs and all that sort of stuff.  We were lounge lizards before our time, I think...I had been writing songs, but I'd say I was pretty much a learner up to that point.  I'd say I'd written maybe a handful of really good songs before the Young Marble Giants.  The thing about the Young Marble Giants is that we wanted to write, to make a body of work that was exceptional, that was really gonna stand out.  We were all kind of desperate to make it and get out of Cardiff.  This music had to achieve a lot for us, basically.  It had to get us a record deal, which nobody we knew had ever done.  Cardiff wasn't on the musical map at all until recently.  It was like a kind of impossible dream.  My songwriting before the Young Marble Giants was kind of organic, it's just what I did, whatever came to mind.  It wasn't really considered, it wasn't styled in any way.  The Young Marble Giants stuff was very rigidly written for that kind of formula, really.  Very stylized, very molded, for a purpose."

They recorded 'Colossal Youth' at Foel Studios near Welshpool in North Wales for about £1000.  The sessions featured Alison Statton on vocals;  Stuart Moxham on guitar and organ;  and Philip Moxham on bass.   Stuart considers:  "It's quiet.  It's minimal.  My whole idea, really, was this is what's happening, this is what's out there, this is what we know about, and everyone kind of does the same stuff.  Let's just turn out backs on that, and see what else there is to do.  Being quiet was one thing, and being very minimal was another thing.  So we thought right, we'll go against all the grains and see if we can come up with something.  As somebody once said in Rough Trade, basically it's rock and roll.  It's basically twelve-bar blues.  It's just sort of chopped up a bit...We knew nothing about production.  The short answer is yes, definitely.  The whole thing was--we planned the whole thing very economically.  Basically we bumped our drum machine down to a cassette, and we used that one cassette for every gig we did.  And we used that same cassette to make a record with.  We kept it all very minimal and very simple.  We did exactly the same thing in the studio as we did live.  I think we did about two or three overdubs on the whole album.  The album was done in five days, and we mixed it in 20 minutes. The whole idea was to keep it very simple.  Since then, I've got fucked into the way of working everybody else works, endless overdubs and multitracking and mixing and remixing, all that kind of stuff, I've done all that kind of business.  At times I just think to myself, God, I got it right the first time around.  Why am I doing all this?  It's crazy!"

 'Colossal Youth'  went to number twenty in New Zealand and number three on the UK indie album chart.

"Colossal Youth"

"Brand - New - Life"

"Wurlitzer Jukebox"

"Credit in the Straight World"


'Colossal Youth'  full album:

All songs written by Stuart Moxham, except for where noted.

"Searching for Mr. Right" - 3:03
"Include Me Out" - 2:01
"The Taxi" - 2:07
"Eating Noddemix" (Phillip Moxham, Alison Statton) - 2:04
"Constantly Changing" - 2:04
"N.I.T.A." - 3:31
"Colossal Youth" - 1:54
"Music for Evenings" - 3:02
"The Man Amplifier" - 3:15
"Choci Loni" (S. Moxham, P. Moxham) - 2:37
"Wurlitzer Jukebox" - 2:45
"Salad Days" (S. Moxham, Statton) - 2:01
"Credit in the Straight World" - 2:29
"Brand - New - Life" - 2:54
"Wind in the Rigging" - 2:25

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

telephone free landslide victory

Camper Van Beethoven went to the moon and came home for lunch with this absurd ambiguous amalgamation of bowling skinhead stomp and breathtaking border ska. The group formed at the University of California in Santa Cruz with David Lowery, Chris Molla, and Victor Krummenacher with a revolving cast of characters under the moniker Camper Van Beethoven and the Border Patrol. 

 Lowery reveals: "We had the name before we had any songs. David McDaniel was one of the founding members of the band. He was my funny, quirky friend, very devout Christian who spent most of his life as a minister. He also had this crazy stand-up comedy persona that he did where he would say these jokes that had all the reason and rhyme of jokes, but they didn’t really make any sense. He would do some foreign Borat-type accent and say, ‘My country is so small every time we change a tire, everybody laughs!’ I mean, it doesn’t make any sense. And he had this rhyme and reason that was his sense of humor — this whole series of never ending things that sounded like they could be jokes but they deconstructed and destroyed themselves in the process. That’s where Camper Van Beethoven came from...We thought ska sounded like that, at least the ska that we were listening to back in the early punk-rock days when ska and punk-rock were all mixed together. We would just use those scales and those kind of melodies but we were also really influenced by surf-bands, but we just didn’t play surf beats, but that’s what we were into. But we just put ska and punk rock, and sort of put punk beats and rhythms into the song. Surf music was obsessed with the sound of other cultures."

'Telephone Free Landslide Victory' was recorded during January and February of 1985 at Sámurai Sound Studio in Davis, California. The sessions were engineered by Dave Gill and featured David Lowery on lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and drums; Jonathan Segel on violin, mandolin, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals, and noise; Chris Molla on guitar, backing vocals, and drums; Victor Krummenacher on bass and backing vocals; Greg Lisher on guitar; and Anthony Guess on drums.

Lowery elucidates: "We’re playing with words. There’s a good story that goes with that title. There was this band back in the 60s that we idolized called The Kaleidoscope. One of their classic albums, Beacon From Mars, was actually supposed to be called Bacon From Mars. But apparently it went to the printing plant and somebody just figured it was a misspelling or a typo or couldn’t read the handwriting, and they changed it to Beacon From Mars. Strange parallel: Telephone Free Landslide Victory was originally called Telephone Tree Landslide Victory. But when we sent it to to Bruce Licher to print the cover, he misread our handwriting and thought it was Telephone Free Landslide Victory. We were like, ‘No, it’s Telephone TREE Landslide Victory!’ And he was like, ‘Oh, shit!’ But he’d already hand-printed fifteen hundred covers. And the we were like, ‘Wait, that’s better!’"

'Telephone Free Landslide Victory' was initially released on the band's own Independent Projects label and sold over sixty thousand copies. It charted at number thirty on the UK indie album chart.

Krummenacher considers: "Rarely do I listen to my own stuff, but when I do listen to it… you know, I guess they say “lightning in a bottle” is the way to describe certain things that just kind of happen that are unexpected and spontaneous and very real. I think that record is a really good example of something that nobody anticipated being anything other than what it was. We were just making a record for a friend. We did it in four days – two days of recording and two days of mixing. It’s 17 songs or something. It’s basically about everything we were playing at the time. We just threw it in there, and had no clue that it would become this culty kind of thing that people like R.E.M. would be interested in, and basically it secured us a place...You know, Camper was a joke band. Camper was the band that played at parties. We all had serious bands that we were trying to play with at the time. I think we were serious about making the record, we thought we were a pretty cool, interesting, weird garage band. But I don’t think we thought it would be what it was. Which is good – there were no expectations going into it. I think that’s when the best stuff is made, when you just don’t have an expectation. Expectation is really kind of the enemy of rock ‘n’ roll. Once you get too thinky about things it’s just not good."

Lowery expounds: "The first Camper Van Beethoven record is all bouncy and poppy, like when you were 18 and you smoked pot, it actually made you sort of energetic, and then like when you were like 35 and you smoked pot and you went to sleep." 

"Take the Skinheads Bowling"
became a college radio sensation and went to number eight on the UK indie chart.
Lowery: "I just got this idea that I thought a lot of great songs really didn’t mean anything; it was kind of just cool, the way the words went together, and that that should be celebrated. So, I was really carefully trying to make it so that each line didn’t really seem like it had anything to do with the line before it."
Krummenacher: "It’s funny, when I listen to it now, there’s a huge bass mistake at the end. It’s really, really loose. I had no clue that it would be a hit in Britain. Or that it would ultimately allow me to buy my house because when Michael Moore bought it for “Bowling for Columbine.” That was a big deal for a lot of us."

Every day, I get up and pray to Jah
And he decreases the number of clocks by exactly one
Everybody's comin' home for lunch these days
Last night there were skinheads on my lawn
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Some people say that bowling alleys got big lanes
Some people say that bowling alleys all look the same
There's not a line that goes here that rhymes with anything
I has a dream last night, but I forget what it was
I had a dream last night about you, my friend
I had a dream--I wanted to sleep next to plastic
I had a dream--I wanted to lick your knees
I had a dream--it was about nothing

"The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon"

"Ambiguity Song"

'Telephone Free Landslide Victory'

full album:

Side one
"Border Ska" - 2:50
"The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon" - 3:14
"Wasted" - 1:59 (Greg Ginn, Keith Morris)
"Yanqui Go Home" - 2:41
"Oh No!" - 1:54
"9 of Disks" - 2:36
"Payed Vacation: Greece" - 1:52
"Where The Hell is Bill?" - 2:06

Side two
"Vladivostock" - 2:22
"Skinhead Stomp" - 1:48
"Tina" - 1:37
"Take The Skinheads Bowling" - 2:32
"Mao Reminisces About His Days in Southern China" - 1:59
"I Don't See You" - 2:23
"Balalaika Gap" - 2:13
"Opi Rides Again - Club Med Sucks" - 3:55
"Ambiguity Song" - 2:29

Monday, April 27, 2015

goodbye jumbo

World Party ruled the groove to show something true in the pure pop throwback message of this sweet soul dream.     After working on 'A Pagan Place' and 'This Is The Sea' with The Waterboys, Karl Wallinger left to form World Party, recording  'Private Revolution' at his home studio.   As he was working on the followup, he acquired a studio space above a converted bakery in the Kings Cross section of London.  

Wallinger reveals:   "This was used as a fire watch-tower during the war. It was post-apocalyptic when we moved in, uninhabitable, but it was a dedicated space for a studio, which was something I'd never had before - you know, somewhere to have a studio clock and red and green 'recording' lights...We had this kind of beauty parade of people who do the insides of studios. One guy just wanted to clad the whole thing in fibreglass wool. Another guy asked us what colour we wanted it, which wasn't very technical of him. But then a great guy called Nick Whitaker appeared and he had a computer which analysed the rooms, and he said, 'if you just stick a box here and a box there, it'll be fine.' ... This [mixing] desk came up, offered for a ridiculously small price, sight unseen. It's from 1975 - state-of-the-art for then. The Clash did 'London Calling' on it and Mike Batt did the Wombles on it, and 'Never Mind the Bollocks' was mixed on it. It was just an old desk out of an old studio, and it looked like chickens had lived in it - but it was a great, vibey object. I didn't even know if it would work. It came through the window on a 100ft crane which I didn't see, because I didn't want to be here to watch it...I liked the idea that you could make yourself a fantasy version of Studio Two at Abbey Road and then conduct your business in whatever way you wanted: if you wanted to pretend you were George Martin and the Beatles, you could indulge it. We went through three copies of the Mark Lewisohn book about the Beatles' recording sessions. We thumbed through them until they fell apart, looking at the pictures and seeing the screens and drum positionings and mike positionings, and re- creating it, because that must be a good way to do it. It sounds obsessive, but it's just a pleasurable way of doing things - working and living out a childhood fantasy at the same time."

'Goodbye Jumbo' was engineered and produced by Karl Wallinger who did lead vocals and most of the instruments except for Guy Chambers on drums, guitar, synthesizer, harmonium, and piano, Jerod on acoustic guitar, Jeff Trott on 12 string, electric, and slide guitar;  Sophia Ramos and Sinead O’Connor on backing vocals.    Chris Whitten on drums;  Steve Wickham on violin;   Martyn Swain on bass;   and  Roy J. Morgan on tambourine.  Joe Blaney assisted with engineering and Tim Young did the editing and mastering.  

Once again, Wallinger channels his musical heroes like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Prince:   “Yes, an appropriate voice does seem to come out, doesn’t it?  I don’t have specific voice and certainly don’t think, ‘Oh, I’ll write one like this.’ Afterwards I do get disappointed if people can’t hear I’ve actually written something as honestly created as anything else. But growing up on the Beatles, Beach Boys and Stones, it is highly likely you’ll find some reference to their styles...And sometimes there’s just a general playfulness about it – and in-jokes. I like toying with cultural references and making them amusing. Music is so serious today. Too much so. It could be more fun. And I’m not talking about having to be wacky like Madness, because that’s so simplistic and like musical slapstick...I like subtlety and can’t see why music can’t be witty or whimsical...On ['Goodbye Jumbo'] I was able to do things I’d wanted to do all my life to recapture that excitement of my first decade in music. A song like Message in the Box couldn’t have cropped up on 'Private Revolution'. And it isn’t on 'Bang!' because now I have gone through that gate and there is new terrain for me to explore without having to reference the co-ordinates quite so precisely...Maybe people only enjoyed Goodbye Jumbo because it arrived at a particular time when there looked like there was going to be a 60s revival ...  It's like, 'There's this guy who writes songs — they seem to be about God, or are they about the world?' I don't know really. I'd like people to make up their own minds. I just believe in the power of the twenty-four-track studio...I don't feel amazingly well educated.  I just feel like an enthusiast — a world watcher, really. It's not just the Beatles. I'm trying to piece together the whole thing. I need, like, the session books for mankind. You know what I mean? How did Jesus record his songs? How did the Israelites get that trumpet sound when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down — and can I get it on an S900? You know? No, because it'd blow my speakers."

'Goodbye Jumbo' went to number seventy-three in the US.    The album was voted "album of the year" by Q magazine and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance. 

"Way Down Now" went all the way up to number one on the US modern rock tracks chart.

"Put the Message in the Box" drove its way to number thirty-nine in the UK and number eight on the US modern rock tracks chart.

"When the Rainbow Comes"

"Show Me to the Top"

"Thank You World"

'Goodbye Jumbo' 
full album:

"Is It Too Late?" – 4:24
"Way Down Now" – 3:49
"When the Rainbow Comes" – 4:58
"Put the Message in the Box" – 4:16
"Ain't Gonna Come Till I'm Ready" – 5:05
"And I Fell Back Alone" – 3:57
"Take It Up" – 4:37
"God on My Side" – 4:14
"Show Me to the Top" – 5:15
"Love Street" – 4:21
"Sweet Soul Dream" – 4:39
"Thank You World" – 3:47

Sunday, April 26, 2015

crazy rhythms

The Feelies raised eyebrows with the percussive perpetual nervousness and frenetic jangle of this geeky tonal triumph.   Glenn Mercer and Bill Million started a band called The Outkids in Haledon, New Jersey with Dave Weckerman.  When Keith Clayton and Vinnie DeNunzio joined in 1976, they changed their name to The Feelies.  Anton Fier joined the band and in 1978 they were named "The Best Underground Band in New York" by The Village Voice.   Their first single "Fa Cé-La" was released on Rough Trade before they signed with Stiff Records.   

Million muses: "The main reason we signed with Stiff is that we insisted we shouldn't have a producer, and they agreed. I don't know how bands can allow their music to be mixed by someone else. It's something we could never do...We didn't want to go after a big modern sound. We look at it as a rather unique sounding record. There's an awful lot of clarity and separation that isn't found on most records. The guitars are split. Very seldom did we use the centre spectrum in the mix...It's very difficult to record certain guitar parts in the studio. Our whole idea is to have this droning guitar thing as the foundation. Sometimes live that drone gets out of control, and the melody lines and the drum lines take a back seat...In the studio we couldn't get that same guitar sound. We could get it but it wouldn't go over into the control room. So it was either doing what we did, go for that clarity, or do multiple guitar overdubs, which we didn't want to do. It wouldn't fit our style of playing."

'Crazy Rhythms' was recorded in four weeks at Vanguard Studios in New York and mixed at New Jersey's House of Music.   The sessions featured  Glenn Mercer on lead guitar, rhythm guitar, 12-string guitar, bowed guitar, vocals, keyboards, temple block, shaker, claves, maracas, bell, castanets, reverbed sticks, shoes, drums, and coat rack;      Bill Million on lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and acoustic guitar, vocals, timbales, sandpaper, claves, can, tom-tom, snare, cowbell, shaker, shoes, temple blocks, tambourine, boxes, and bells;    Anton Fier on drums, tom-toms, pipe, and cowbell;   and Keith De Nunzio on bass guitar, snare drum, tom-toms, wood block, pipe, bell, and background vocals.    Bill Million and Glenn Mercer produced the sessions with Mark Abel.   Abel reveals:   "They are the most obstinate people I've ever met.  They had real set ideas of what they wanted. That record was the culmination of four years of fantasizing about how they were going to record those songs... they couldn't understand anyone else's ideas... Frankly, I think they dug themselves into a hole, but that's the hole they want and they have a perfect right to sit in it."

Million adds:    "There were other times when the drums would compete with the guitars. Sometimes the cymbals would hit this one frequently and all three would be cancelled out. So we took away the cymbals and we had to replace them with something, so we added a percussionist."

 "Fa Cé-La"

"Forces at Work"

"Raised Eyebrows / Crazy Rhythms"

"Crazy Rhythms"

'Crazy Rhythms'
full album:

All songs written and composed by Bill Million and Glenn Mercer, except as indicated. 

side one
0:00 "The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness" 
5:08  "Fa Cé-La"  
7:12 "Loveless Love" 
12:25 "Forces at Work"  
side two
19:35 "Original Love"  
22:30 "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)"  Lennon-McCartney
27:05 "Moscow Nights"   
31:21 "Raised Eyebrows"  
34:21 "Crazy Rhythms"  

cd reissue bonus track
40:34 "Paint it Black"    Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

domino reissue bonus track
"I Wanna Sleep in Your Arms (Live from the 9:30 Club, Washington D.C., March 14, 2009)"   Jonathan Richman

Saturday, April 25, 2015

suzanne vega

Suzanne Vega fought things she couldn't see with the emotional undertow of this literate urban folk.    Growing up in Spanish Harlem, Vega began writing poetry in her early teens, and by the age of sixteen was performing her own songs on the in small clubs.  Vega looks back:  "It was great… I had a lot of songs and I was writing steadily – a song every few months – and I could try them out at a leisurely pace. I was with friends who had high standards for writing, and so it was good to try to meet them...The record deal came after a great review in the New York Times. We’d made a demo tape and my manager had already submitted it to A&M Records twice. However, after this particular review they came running…"

The sessions for her eponymous debut featured  Suzanne Vega on vocals and  acoustic guitar;    Steve Addabbo on background vocals, synclavier guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, and electric guitar;   Darol Anger on electric violin;  Frank Christian on acoustic guitar and electric slide guitar;  Paul Dugan on bass and vertical bass;   Sue Evans on drums and percussion;   Jon Gordon on electric guitar;  Peter Gordon on string arrangement;   Frank Gravis on bass;   Shem Guibbory on violin;  Mark Isham on synthesizers;   John Mahoney on synclavier programming;   Maxine Neuman on cello;   C.P. Roth on synthesizers, piano, and organ;   and Roger Squitero on percussion.   Vega admits:   "If they'd say, 'Come out and sing it again,' I'd say, 'I don't want to, I sang it alright the last time,' or 'You sing it yourself.'   Steve (producer Steve Addabbo) has told me there were times he wanted to really throttle me, but then I never would have sung again."

'Suzanne Vega' went to number ninety-one in the US, fifty-four in Germay, forty-two in Sweden, eleven in the Netherlands and the UK,  and number nine in New Zealand.  Vega would express at the time:  "People who are expecting a folk album are surprised and people who are expecting a rock album don't quite get it...I like contemporary music and I like old-fashioned music, so I take things that I like from each of those and mix them all together.  I suppose it confuses some people, but I like it...It's a little frustrating to go into a record store in New York and see that it's in the folk section, which is always either way in the back or upstairs or buried somewhere down some hole. I feel a little bad about that. I don't want it to be misrepresented, but I still want it to be what it is...Some people say 'I just can't understand' or 'Who wants folk music back?' and that's a mistake.  Some people just don't want to think or make judgment for themselves. People want things to be clear for them...There's a lot I don't know about my songs.  What I have to say is not always clear. I think I speak for a lot of people, I'm just not sure who they are yet."

"Marlene on the Wall"

Even if I am in love with you
All this to say, what's it to you
Observe the blood, the rose tattoo
Of the fingerprints, on me from you

Other evidence has shown that
You and I are still alone we
Skirt around the danger zone
And don't talk about it later

Marlene watches from the wall
Her mocking smile says it all
As she records the rise and fall
Of every soldier passing

But the only soldier now is me
I'm fighting things I cannot see
I think it's called my destiny
That I am changing

Marlene on the wall

Well I walk to your house in the afternoon
By the butcher shot, with the sawdust strewn
Don't give away the goods too soon
Is what she might have told me

And I tried so hard, to resist
When you held me in your handsome first
And reminded me, of the night we kissed
And of why I should be leaving

Marlene watches from the wall
Her mocking smile says it all
As she records the rise and fall
Of every soldier passing

But the only soldier now is me
I'm fighting things I cannot see
I think it's called my destiny
That I am changing

Marlene on the wall

Marlene watches from the wall
Her mocking smile says it all
As she records the rise and fall
Of every soldier passing

But the only soldier now is me
I'm fighting things I cannot see
I think it's called my destiny
That I am changing

Marlene on the wall

And even if I am in love with you
All this to say, what's it to you
Observe the blood, the rose tattoo
Of the fingerprints, on me from you

Other evidence has shown that
You and I are still alone we
Skirt around the danger zone
And don't talk about it later

And I tried so hard, to resist
When you held me in your handsome first
And reminded me, of the night we kissed
And of why I should be leaving

Marlene watches from the wall
Her mocking smile says it all
As the records the rise and fall
Of every man who's been here

But the only one here now is me
I'm fighting things I cannot see
I think it's called my destiny
That I am changing, changing, changing, changing, changing

Marlene watches from the wall
Her mocking smile says it all
As she records the rise and fall
Of every soldier passing

But the only soldier now is me
I'm fighting things I cannot see
I think it's called my destiny
That I am changing

Marlene on the wall

"Small Blue Thing"

 "That day, I felt like a small blue thing and I said, OK, no one has ever said that before, so I would like to give this thing a voice."

"Neighborhood Girls"

'Suzanne Vega' 
full album:

All songs written by Suzanne Vega.

"Cracking" – 2:49
"Freeze Tag" – 2:36
"Marlene on the Wall" – 3:40
"Small Blue Thing" – 3:54
"Straight Lines" – 3:49
"Undertow" – 3:26
"Some Journey" – 3:38
"The Queen and the Soldier" – 4:48
"Knight Moves" – 3:36
"Neighborhood Girls" – 3:21