Catalogue number: OMWCD11
Label: Oxygen Music Works
- Rise Up To Be
- Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro
- The Songstress On The Edge Of Heaven
Album overview from Graham Johnston
Gary Lucas @Paradiso is a tiny gem. It features just four tracks and 22 minutes of Gary recorded alone on stage with his guitar and electronics, and leaves you wanting about twice as much again. It was recorded at Amsterdam’s Paradiso club, at various shows that took place between 1996 and 1997, and is entirely free of overdubs, something which I find fairly mind-boggling.
The four songs may well be familiar already to many listeners, though not necessarily as being Gary Lucas numbers. The opener, “Rise Up To Be”, will be more familiar as the music from the Jeff Buckley tune “Grace” from Buckley’s debut album of the same name. Gary played in Buckley’s band, and co-wrote two of the songs from Grace (“Mojo Pin” being the other), and here dedicates this mini-album to the memory of Jeff Buckley. And a magical tune it is; this particular version shimmers, sparkles and ideally would go on for ever. Sadly it doesn’t, but the following tune is also a pleasing surprise, a cover of Dollar Brand’s “Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro” (the original can be found on the Ancient Africa album). Bearing little similarity to the South African jazzy original, Gary’s widdly-widdly almost-heavy-metal guitar spoos and noodles all over the place, sounding fantastic, laid over a gently repetitive background of guitar and electronic twiddles which will have you swaying blissfully away.
A very ambient cover of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” is next up, drenched in fuzzy distortion, and containing elements which sound closer in intent to Vini Reilly’s Durutti Column than to Kraftwerk. The final tune, from Evangeline, is “The Songstress on the Edge of Heaven”. This is a Chinese folk tune masterfully picked out on a steel guitar, and brings the album to a close far too soon. Still, it is only a mini-album, and comes at a mini-price as well.
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