Terry Allen

The Silent Majority: Terry Allen's Greatest Missed Hits

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Don't be misled by the subtitle: The Silent Majority is not a career overview, but an odds-and-sods collection, or, as Allen puts it in his liner notes, a collection of outtakes, mistakes, taken-froms, and added-tos. Collecting songs from various stage productions, ballet scores, unfinished projects, and leftovers, The Silent Majority is understandably uneven. Some of these songs were clearly passed over for a reason. Yet the best tracks here are among Allen's finest works, and it's good to have them readily available. The clear standout is 1986's "Cocktail Desperado," previously only available on the cassette-only compilation Sounds From True Stories, a soundtrack of sorts of David Byrne's film, which was in print for about 15 seconds. A mixture of oompah tuba, skittering steel guitar, and one of Allen's most sarcastic vocal performances ever, "Cocktail Desperado" is a career high point that alone makes The Silent Majority a necessary purchase for fans. Although the rest of the album is spotty, there are enough good lines and interesting musical ideas to save most of the songs. The Silent Majority is not the album to start with for the Terry Allen novice (that remains 1979's masterful Lubbock [On Everything]), but it's otherwise worthwhile.

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