SKELETON CREW: Country of Blinds. Learn to Talk (dbl CD)
With 10 extra tracks. A reissue of two timeless classics. On the first CD it's just Fred Frith and Tom Cora, the legendary two man crew who somehow - in real time, not with endless overdubs - managed to play all their own instruments (cello, bass, electric guitar, violin) and sing - as well as, between them, constructing the drum parts - dislocated into elements, with each of them having bits of the kit. This made for some fantastic, and normally unplayable, parts - most drummers having only one brain. No one sounded like Skeleton Crew, ever. Devious, complicated, brutally simple, always unexpected, turning on a dime, this was not just a pop band then, but a tocsin, a call to arms - and a catalogue of invention that is remains breathtaking today. On the second album, the inspired addition of Zeena Parkins (keyboards, accordion, more drums, more vocals) led to some of the best music of the decade. The recording was rawer, more urgent, the songs stand out in sharp relief; every part essential. And yet it's a puzzle almost impossible to unravel: how on earth did they ever evolve those dislocated parts and still make them fit so brilliantly together? Did I mention the texts? So to the point, so good. So where are the Skeleton Crews today when we really need them? Both CDs are here, in full, re-mastered by Fred and with 10 extra tracks - each as good as anything on the official albums. Just give in to the urge: if you have any pennies left, spend them on this.