George Elliott

Men Don't Smoke

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    7
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The ex late-'70s Come On leader has been making noises about giving up his eclectic solo career, but listeners shouldn't let him go quietly without appreciating this New York original. That said, this collection of simple four-track recordings is a little too demo-ish compared to past solo LPs such as Unsolved Bliss-teries; it sounds a little like an emptying of the cupboards instead of one last great rage against the dying of the light. But as released home-recording projects go, there's still some quirky jollity in such tracks as "Howiluver" or the instrumental "That's Coolio, That's Time and a Half, That's Dot Com." Plus, any record that sports a couple of Gene Clark covers like the Byrds' "Feel a Whole Lot Better" and the alt-country "Full Circle Song" -- mit banjo -- as well as Johnny Cash's tried and true "Ring of Fire," a few Bryan Ferry numbers, and, for real obscuros, Four Jacks and a Jill's 1968 number 18 hit that hasn't been heard since, "Master Jack," has our full respect.

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