Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Marshall Crenshaw 1: Marshall Crenshaw

The most successful musician to come out of Beatlemania, if not the nicest, Marshall Crenshaw is not quite a household name these days. But if you listened to the right radio stations in 1982, you would have heard several tracks from his eponymous debut. Indeed, Marshall Crenshaw is chock full of catchy, pop love songs. The songs are tight, loaded with melody and most even coming in under the two-minute-fifty mark.
Any of these songs could have been top 40 singles, but only “Someday, Someway” managed that feat. Its Stratocaster twang and the singer’s glasses brought inevitable comparisons to Buddy Holly, not for the last time. “The Usual Thing” is Sun rockabilly, plain and simple, while the cover of Arthur Alexander’s “Soldier Of Love” replicates the Beatles’ BBC arrangement perfectly. “Cynical Girl” and “Mary Anne” are just terrific songs not enough people know. “Rockin’ Around In N.Y.C.” and “She Can’t Dance” also court rockabilly without being retro, and the production gives a modern sheen to the basic tracks, making the trio sound bigger than they are, particularly on “There She Goes Again” and “Girls…” (The art deco graphics give the decade away too.)
Rhino lovingly reissued the album with a pile of bonus tracks, including B-sides (like his one-man-band gem “You’re My Favorite Waste Of Time”), live tracks and demos. Sadly, that’s out of print; the CD you can get from Amazon today has the original 12-track sequence, while the iTunes download offers a slight bastardization. But we should be grateful that it’s available at all, so go get it.

Marshall Crenshaw Marshall Crenshaw (1982)—4
2000 expanded CD: same as 1982, plus 9 extra tracks

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