Dan Baird

Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired

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It's too bad that Dan Baird's always going be remembered as that gap-toothed guy singing "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" from the back of a pickup truck on a primitive Georgia Satellites video. Always a great a live band, it's unfortunate that the band never quite got it together on the album front. Although they made some good records, they would never come close to capturing their in-concert abandon on tape. On his first solo effort, Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired, Satellite frontman Dan Baird finally managed to cut loose and assemble a string of first-rate tunes highlighted by the tongue in cheek radio hit "I Love You Period." Brilliantly produced by ex-Satellite Brendan O'Brien, Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired gets off to a rip-roaring start with the call and response of "The One I Am." Baird admits, "I can't afford to buy you no four star dinner/but by god, my love's a winner." And heck, how could you not believe him? As the singer bows in with his next tale of down-home, dysfunctional romance (and pregnancy) on "Julie + Lucky," his acute sense of the English vocabulary allows him to juxtapose a series of serious themes spinning them into some not so serious ones. The celebratory, singalong of "Look at What you Started" once again examines themes of disillusionment and communication breakdown. Bolstered by some great boogie-woogie piano courtesy of Tom Petty-man Benmont Tech, the track eventually explodes into a full on Faces romp with some Jerry Lee Lewis barroom smugness thrown in for good measure -- absolutely riveting. After the very Georgia Satellites-like "Seriously Gone" (quick, four on the floor drums, boogie-woogie keys -- yes, rock & roll made simple, ladies and gentlemen), the album proceeds to kick into high gear with the stellar "Pick Up the Knife." Almost "Rockin' in the Free World"- ish, it is a straight up rocker which shifts into its imaginative pre-chorus before diving into a deceptively simple chorus. "Knocked Up," another hilarious Chuck Berry inspired rip-off is next. Full of double-entendre, "Knocked Up" is, again, another wonderful tale of teenage pregnancy (must be a pattern or something), highlighted by an astonishing chorus: "you got knocked up/and I got locked up/I guess you can say that we both got screwed/you got locked out and I got knocked out/I guess you're going to miss a lot of school." The album is rounded out by "Baby Talk," the rollicking "Lost Highway," and "Dixie Beauxdorant." Although far from perfect, Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired is a joyous and vibrant effort that never gets too caught up in its sometimes obvious musical references and counterpoints.

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