Jonathan Richman

You Must Ask the Heart

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The ambitious You Must Ask the Heart is Richman's most consistent effort in years; produced with clarity by Brennan Totten, the album is a neat summation of the singer's recent history, ranging in tone from the pensive ("To Hide a Little Thought") to the silly ("Vampire Girl") and spanning in style from country (the title track) to Spanish ("Amorcito Corazon"). Offsetting his own material with a handful of superb covers -- including Tom Waits' "The Heart of Saturday Night" and Sam Cooke's "Nothing Can Change This Love" -- Richman sings with remarkable energy and honesty; even after dozens of records, his joyful spirit remains undimmed.

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