One of R. Stevie Moore's best mid-'80s tapes, 1986's Purpose is both a freewheeling whirl through Moore's usual panoply of musical styles, and a key step in the development of what many consider his finest LP, 1987's Teenage Spectacular. Several of Moore's best-loved songs from this era are here, including two takes of the daffy but sweet "I Love You Too Much to Bother You," the brooding ballad "Back In Time," and the ghostly, abstract "I Will Want to Die." The disc also includes the definitive new version of "Hobbies Galore," one of Moore's most beautiful songs, originally recorded in 1975, and a terrific countryish rocker, "Thank Hank," penned by Moore's old Nashville buddy Victor Lovera, as well as the fine instrumental title track, the tongue-in-cheek blues "Bricks in My Pillow" (featuring the most deliberately obtrusive fake vinyl noise ever), and completely reworked versions of the Beatles' "Rain" and "Girl" that set John Lennon's lyrics to entirely different melodies and chord progressions. The two-disc CD version also includes Live at Lone Star Café, a July 17, 1986, gig that was part of the Unsigned Showcase series at the CMJ New Music Seminar. This is an enjoyably shambolic guitar-and-vocals set in which Moore casually weaves together snippets of original songs and unexpected covers, bridging in between them with a distinctive recurrent guitar motif that later showed up on Moore's version of Bob Dylan's "Who Killed Davey Moore?" on Teenage Spectacular, and cracking a few amusing one-liners along the way.
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