David Wilcox

East Asheville Hardware

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For all the recordings they may do, folkies earn their living on the road, and David Wilcox has been doing that long enough to have developed a repertoire of crowd-pleasers that are not the sort of thing he likes to put on his more sober, earnest studio albums. Comic, bawdy, whimsical, sentimental, touching, these songs are in essence novelty material, and it is one of the characteristics of novelty songs that, like jokes, they are at their best the first time you hear them. But now that Wilcox has been dumped by A&M after failing to go platinum with three albums, he's back to living off the land, and so, here are his previously unrecorded live favorites (a few of them written by other people), from Chuck Brodsky's "Blow 'Em Away," and a justification for (or maybe just a celebration of) drive-by shootings, to "Mango," perhaps the most straight-spoken song of romantic disappointment since Nilsson's "You're Breakin' My Heart." Physical characteristics ("Top of My Head," "Boob Job"), current events ("Barbie"), and religion ("Carpenter Story") all make appearances, along with a pleasant if aimless nine-minute story song called "Johnny's Camaro," and then there's "Levi Blues," which is about what happens when you put a new pair of jeans in the washing machine with your other clothes. The funny thing is, this album of throwaways may be Wilcox's best album. It's certainly his most immediately enjoyable.

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