Cloud Two

Monday, August 09, 2004

Last week I got a hold of The Big Sky by The Necessaries, an album from 1981 by a NYC quartet comprised of, among others, former Modern Lover Ernie Brooks and one Arthur Russell. It's interesting that Russell's involvement in this band has been pretty much overlooked in recent articles on his life. I found the record doing a search for his stuff on Ebay and was excited to hear what he sounded like in the context of a New Wave/Power Pop ensemble. So, I bid ya go.
On this recording he shares vocal duties with Brooks, plays cello, keyboards and other t'ings. The record was produced by Bob Blank of Wax The Van fame, and in all it pretty much disappoints as a Russell vehicle. Brooks is the dominant presence here - he takes on the vocal duties on just about every song - and the songs themselves are generally unremarkable. I think fans of The Feelies or The Modern Lovers would get more of a rush from what's on here than fans of Russell's solo work. What makes the record worthy in some small way, however, is Driving & Talking At The Same Time. It starts off with an almost Church-y wall of dark jangle before that trademark Russell Wurlitzer (?) electric piano sound comes in (think "Is It All Over My Face"). From then on it chugs along, the Russell presence interweaving with the less interesting rock dynamics of the tune to create a fascinating li'l hybrid.


  • At October 8, 2004 at 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I bid on it the same as you, even though I don't even own a turntable.
    Now that the lp has arrived, I was wondering what it sounded like - reading your report, I suspect, I'm not going to run out to get a turntable! Btw can you tell which of the four people on the cover is Arhur Russell? I've seen several pictures of AR, but still can't decide. If I had to
    pick one, I'd say the top right hand corner guy. - thanks, Rajesh

  • At October 22, 2005 at 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cool blog you have. I have a cello body patterns
    related site. Check it out if you get a chance. The URL is cello body patterns

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