Eric Andersen

Memory of the Future

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Memory of the Future may have been Eric Andersen's first solo album in nine years, but that didn't mean he'd been inactive. On the contrary, as the liner notes point out, the decade leading up to this release was among his most productive. He delivered a pair of terrific trio albums with the Band's Rick Danko and Norwegian guitarist Jonas Fjeld; contributed to Jack Kerouac and Phil Ochs tribute anthologies; and helped to resurrect Stages: The Lost Album, his frequently brilliant "lost" recordings from the '70s. There's more brilliance on the hour-long Memory of the Future, which finds Andersen picking up where he left off on his Arista recordings and on 1989's Ghosts Upon the Road. This is dreamy, introspective music -- the kind best heard late at night by the light of a dying candlelight -- and it's packed tightly with the sort of lyrics that long ago earned Andersen a "new Dylan" tag. His main preoccupation remains relationships, and he writes memorable lines about the power of physical and spiritual love. But the album also includes a well-honed murder mystery ("Chinatown"), a chilling look at Nazis past and present ("Rain Falls Down in Amsterdam"), and a sad farewell to life (Phil Ochs' "When I'm Gone," the album's only cover). Overall, the melodies aren't as indelible as those on The Collection -- an anthology of Andersen's Arista recordings and a better first purchase -- but this is still well worth seeking out.

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