Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Legendary Marvin Pontiac's Greatest Hits (2000, Strange and Beautiful)

This son of a father from Mali and a Jewish mother from New York wrote many classic songs while in and out of mental institutions. Sadly, he died mysteriously and his vast repertoire was minimally documented. At least, that's what the liner notes to this album would have us to believe. In reality, however, none of this is true. This is an amusing tall tale spun by the inimitable Lounge Lizard himself, John Lurie.

Lurie is a living legend. He was instrumental to the high art culture of the late 70's / early 80's downtown New York City scene. His renaissance man style creative output put him in the limelight; playing cool music, painting and popping up in the hippest films. His charming personna and brilliant sense of humor is irresistible and has always greatly appealed to me.

With this ridiculous moniker, he recorded songs in the trash can blues style made famous by Tom Waits. Although I draw comparison here, this is not knock-off material. He created a pastiche of Jazz, Soul, Blues and even World beat. The finished product is an accessible Pop record with a Leonard Cohen-like vocal style, an all-star backing band (John Medeski, Calvin Weston, Marc Ribot and Steve Bernstein, and lyrics that are as poignant as they are hilarious. There are rocking tunes and thick grooves to boot.

Its been speculated that these are just smoothly arranged versions of songs originally written for the Lounge Lizards project that just didn't fit the mold. Either way, download it and forget its Lurie. Believe in the character that is Marvin Pontiac and you'll have a damn fine time.

Get It Here

Or: The Legendary Marvin Pontiac - Greatest Hits - Marvin Pontiac

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