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The Lost Album [no label, 1CD]
This was the information that came with this CD:
“A great lost Jonathan Richman LP, from unreleased studio sessions, all the songs are different versions to anything officially released, and a couple of them, far as I know, never found their way onto any other JR recordings. This is probably the only place you’ll hear a copy of ‘In The Checkout Line’ and ‘Try This Brand New Dance’.”
The likely year for these sessions is 1981 when Richman took a break from the Modern Lovers and embarked on his solo career. Very basic instrumentation, mainly acoustic guitar, with an all-girl chorus. The simplicity and playfulness of I’m A Little Airplane sounds like leftover from 1979’s Back In Your Life. It recalls I’m Nature’s Mosquito. But when he hits the spot as on The Morning Of Our Lives, with a nice chorus and proper instrumentation, it’s heavenly. Check out the French. The song seems to be a nice complement to the Bee Gees’ In The Morning. Maybe.
Throughout, the sparse instrumentation, and one-take recording style suggests this was either a rehearsal that got recorded or studio demos.
By the time you reach Shirin And Fahrad, a love song with a Middle Eastern atmosphere but a poor cousin to Abdul & Cleopatra, Richman seems to have run out of funds. He’s singing acapella, slapping and clapping, making throaty sounds to mimic rhythm and bass on this and the final two - Walter Johnson and Five Year Old Feeling. An acquired taste to be sure.
Richman is generally credited as a forerunner of proto-punk for his Modern Lovers music but by 1980, his yearning to tell stories sans the drama of rock ‘n’ roll was out of step with ’80s hair bands and the new wave. Richman actually grew up in an earlier period infatuated with the Velvet Underground. His first demos were recorded with John Cale. Many of the songs on this “lost” album seem to be reaching for those Velvet Underground sounds of a delicate melody with a simple story. He avoided all of the excess of Lou Reed’s early solo albums. Thankfully, his music is no mirror of the Velvets but beats a path all of its own.
Sometimes the sound cuts out from the right speaker and there are infrequent digital clicks. But overall, this is in great soundboard quality. Thanks to the fan who shared this on the net all those years ago.
- The Little Chicken
Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.
These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you want to download them at a later date.
Track 01. I’m A Little Airplane
Track 02. The Morning Of Our Lives
Track 03. In The Checkout Line
Track 04. Try This Brand New Dance
Track 05. Theme From The Moulin Rouge [instrumental]
Track 06. And That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll
Track 07. Ancient And Long Ago
Track 08. The Fenway*
Track 09. Not Yet Three+
Track 10. Stop This Car+
Track 11. Shirin And Fahrad#
Track 12. Walter Johnson*
Track 13. Five Year Old Feeling
+ finally released in a different version on 1983’s Jonathan Sings! his debut solo album.
* finally released in a different version on 1985’s Rockin’ & Romance.
# finally released in a different version on 1986’s It’s Time For Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers.
Jonathan Richman is prolific. Worse still, he never wrote singles. So any compilation is ultimately biased. Rounder Records put one out in 2002, Action Packed, that covered Richman’s solo albums from the ’80s and ’90s. Buy it here.
The hardest Jonathan Richman album to find is It’s Time For. If you can find one in mint condition, be prepared to part with US$100.