Stereo Review In Review: November 1987

I don’t recall paying all that much attention back in the day to the interviews with/articles on performers that appeared occasionally in the pages of SR. One thing that’s stood out to me thumbing through these old issues this year is how often they featured country artists, first by Noel Coppage and then Alanna Nash; there’s another one this month. We also get a second article, all about my favorite act from 1987 (I doubt I read it at the time, though).

Articles
Elizabeth Costello Interviews Suzanne Vega
Vega talks about being surprised by the success of “Luka,” her singing style (“I’ve always disliked a lot of vibrato”), and the evolution her songwriting (“I think it is becoming more streamlined, more abstract, and more condensed. And I think it’s becoming more melodic.”)

Alanna Nash Interviews Patty Loveless
Nash recounts how native Kentuckian Loveless, whose star was just beginning to rise, reached this moment. Nashville kept calling—at age fourteen she and her brother met Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, who became a friend, and at age eighteen she briefly fronted for the Wilburn Brothers. Marrying that band’s drummer took her to western North Carolina for several years, where she mostly sang rockers in bars and incurred bad habits with drugs and alcohol. After cleaning up, she took one last shot at country stardom and it sure panned out.

Our reviewers this month are Chris Albertson, Phyl Garland, Alanna Nash, Mark Peel, and Steve Simels. Unfortunately, the scan at worldradiohistory.com is missing a couple of pages, including the beginning of the pop reviews, so we might be missing out on a gem or two.

Best of the Month
–Rosanne Cash, King’s Record Shop (AN) “…Cash again offers a stunning mix of traditional and progressive country, ballad, and biting rock. Far more sober than her previous album, King’s Record Shop rips into vital veins and arteries of emotion…” This one’s been in my collection for a long time.
–Cruzados, After Dark (MP) “Cruzados combine the country music of parched cinderblock and sweating beer bottles with the hard rock of a fist fight waiting to happen.”

Other Disks Reviewed (* = featured review)
–*Three sets of unreleased recordings of Count Basie (CA) “Eventually (remaining Basie tapes) will all be released—the great, the good, and the simply fair. These three albums cover all three bases.”
–Natalie Cole, Everlasting (PG) “She presents it all with grace, ease, and taste. And she’s in good voice, with energy to spare.”
–Duane Eddy, S/T (SS) “…as nuttily entertaining an album as I’ve heard all year.”
–Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, Let It Loose (PG) “Their cohesive music and sound prove that there are still new horizons to be explored in popular music.”
–A Flock of Seagulls, The Best of… (SS) “Call it disposable, call it New Wave nostalgia, but there’s something oddly touching about the innocence of this music, just as there’s something oddly touching about the innocence of a Buddy Holly song.”
–The Grateful Dead, In the Dark (SS) “Whatever you think of these guys, this is clearly the most surprising album of the year: the first Grateful Dead record you don’t have to be a Deadhead to enjoy.”
–Highway 101, S/T (AN) “…this is commercial country music, retro honky-tonk…(t)he real news, however, is Paulette Carlson. Sounding at once like early Dolly Parton, earlier Brenda Lee…(she) throws a one-two punch as a vocalist and songwriter.”
–*La Bamba (SS) “…the most exciting evocation of Fifties rock anybody has ever recorded.”
–Richard Lloyd, Real Time (SS) “In retrospect, Television…was never as radical as people assumed at the time, and it now seems clear that was because Lloyd played Paul McCartney to (Tom) Verlaine’s John Lennon.”
–Split Enz, History Never Repeats—The Best of Split Enz (MP) “The selections display the group’s facile songwriting, clever word play, and the determinedly lighthearted approach that probably doomed it.”
Who’s That Girl (AN) “Alas, there is nothing gutsy about Madonna’s performance on the sound the soundtrack of Who’s That Girl, a movie in which the singer goes to great lengths to prove she is not an actress…”
–X, See How We Are (MP) “…there’s an unfinished quality to the rough harmonies and rambling tunes, a roughness that allows X to communicate directly and forcefully in live performance but seems hollow and self-conscious on record…”

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