1977's Piano Lessons is a unique experiment in R. Stevie Moore's oeuvre. Recorded at his friend Victor Lovera's house on a borrowed electric spinet, the album is built entirely on the peculiarly '70s sound of that instrument. (Think Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, or Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years.") Most of the tracks are entirely solo performances, like the lilting "Funny Child" (which later showed up on the 1979 album Delicate Tension), the Philip Glass-goes-pop "Broke Up," or the lovely, shimmering instrumental "Silent Afterthought." A handful of tracks feature other players, and for once, Moore doesn't do his trademark one-man-band overdubbing. The first ten songs are typically good-to-great Moore pop, highlighted by the perky nic fit "I Wish I Had a Cigarette." The second half of the CD, starting with "In 2001," is entirely instrumental, including the energetic jam session "Dow vs. Mathers" and the pretty title track, which features a melody similar in parts to the soon-to-be-written "Delicate Tension." Although Piano Lessons isn't quite up to the major leap forward Moore would take on his next two albums, Swing and a Miss and Sheetrock, it continues his restlessly experimental streak.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason