Young Turk

N.E. 2nd Ave.

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When many people hear the name Young Turk, they think of the New Orleans-based hardcore rapper who joined the Hot Boys in the late 1990s. But, in the early 1990s, there was another Young Turk -- a little known rock & roll combo that recorded for Virgin. Even though they were categorized as alternative rock, many of its influences were classic baby boomer icons. The Rolling Stones are a prominent influence on N.E. 2nd Ave., Young Turk's only album -- the earthy disc often show a strong awareness of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' writing style. And some of the band's other noteworthy influences include Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Lou Reed; one thing Young Turk has in common with Reed, in fact, is an ability to bring sleazy characters to life (including a prostitute and some drug users). The people that vocalist Rhett O'Neil sings about on "I'll Be Around," "The Saddest Song (La Di Da)," and "Love American Style" are hardly the most admirable or exemplary people in a world, but he doesn't judge them -- instead, he matter-of-factly gives you a quick and interesting tour of their lives and remembers that they're still human beings despite their flaws. And, of course, that's exactly the sort of thing that Reed did when he recorded "Walk on the Wild Side" back in 1972. A few of the tunes on this CD aren't terribly memorable, but more often than not, Young Turk is fairly promising. It's too bad that N.E. 2nd Ave. didn't enjoy more attention.

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