Marshall Crenshaw

I've Suffered for My Art, Now It's Your Turn

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Marshall Crenshaw's second live album, with its Henny Youngman-inspired title, is in all ways a smaller-scale affair than its predecessor, 1994's Live: My Truck Is My Home. Crenshaw is captured performing a club date at the refurbished Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, on February 16, 2001, and his format is unplugged; the instrumentation consists of himself on acoustic guitar, with acoustic bassist Greg Cohen joining on eight songs, and accordionist Charlie Giordano on four of those. Crenshaw's set is a mixture of his best-known material ("Someday, Someway," "There She Goes Again," "Whenever You're on My Mind"), songs from his most recent studio album, 1999's #447 ("Television Light," "Dime a Dozen Guy," "T.M.D.," "Tell Me All About It"), and some interesting cover tunes (Jody Reynolds' "Endless Sleep," the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee"). The limited instrumentation necessitates simpler arrangements, brings Crenshaw's fingerpicking to the fore (notably on "Cynical Girl"), and places a greater emphasis on the often-clever lyrics to his songs. But unlike other rockers who have tried the acoustic format, he doesn't really tone down his performing style to the circumstances. Most of the time he sings full out, as if he's fronting an electric rock band, and his spoken remarks, perhaps fueled by nervous energy, are similarly charged instead of being casual and intimate, as the situation might have suggested. As a result, the performance doesn't provide much of an alternate view of his work, and the album is recommended primarily to his existing fan base, the kind of enthusiastic listeners leading the cheers at the Stone Pony, rather than to those who might expand his cult following.

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