I’m increasingly fascinated by artists, late in their career, coming up with an album of real class. It works best if the artist has been in the wilderness for so many years they reach the point when they no longer have an audience to please, so they please themselves. Then, they prove that form is temporary and talent is permanent in producing an album to savour.
David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash are probably the best known examples but Grace Jones and Mavis Staples have managed it, too. Ry Cooder doesn’t count because he has been consistently brilliant all the way through. I don’t think Robert Plant could be described as ever being in a wilderness even though his last four albums are among his very best.
Eddie Chacon of Charles and Eddie has a new LP out next week which is meant to be hypnotic. Lewis Tayloresque, without the guitar, I’m told. If so, he’s a perfect example because he wasn’t that successful to begin with.
I’m told that Gary Newman’s latest work is as great as his eighties peak but I’d like members of the Afterword to point me to the album to look at first. » Continue Reading.