Cincinatti City Beat

ROCK GETS BETTER AT 50 (AND OLDER TOP 10 of 2010)
By Steven Rosen, CityBeat

Lighthouse by Susan Cowsill (51)
Too few people know that this member of the family Rock band The Cowsills (“Hair”) has gone on to a career as one of our sharper female singer/songwriters. This album features her clear voice and fine songs, plus a version of Jimmy Webb’s “Galvesto
n.”

Once not so long ago, Rock by the over-50 crowd was the stuff of Rhino Records’ Golden Throats series — Mae West doing The Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” anyone? But, like so much else, it’s gotten better with age. So much better, in fact, that some of the year’s most satisfying Rock (and related) music was made by the over-50 crowd. Here are the 10 best of 2010, in alphabetical order:

Homela
nd by Laurie Anderson (age 63)
A magnum opus by this artist who combines electronic music, minimalism, political commentary, Rock rhythms and gorgeous melodies, it takes on post-Great Recession America with insight and humanity. “Only an Expert” is a song all should hea
r.

Lighthouse by Susan Cowsill (51)
Too few people know that this member of the family Rock band The Cowsills (“Hair”) has gone on to a career as one of our sharper female singer/songwriters. This album features her clear voice and fine songs, plus a version of Jimmy Webb’s “Galvesto
n.”

King for a
Day by Micky Dolenz (65)
Dolenz first met Carole King when she co-wrote such songs for The Monkees as “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Take a Giant Step.” Here, in great voice and with wonderful arrangements and first-class production, he returns the favor by covering her compositions from the 1960s and 19
70s.

True Love Cast Out All
Evil by Roky Erickson (63) with Okkervil River
Helped by a younger Austin Indie Rock group, the legendary, mentally troubled survivor of Texas Psychedelic Rock (13th Floor Elevators) was able to not just salvage forgotten older songs but fill them with renewed energy, relevance and g
lory.

The
Union by Elton John (63) and Leon Russell (68)
You have to thank two other 60-plus artists, John’s songwriting partner Bernie Taupin and producer T Bone Burnett, for their first-rate contributions to this album. But John is emotive and schmaltz-free, and Russell also contributes several fine
songs.

Praise
& Blame by Tom Jones (70)
Jones’ forcefully energetic, dynamic voice has long been able to tackle any material — the late-career surprise has been how sensitively he handles different musical styles. On this Roots/Country album, he mixes judiciously chosen covers (a great version of Dylan’s “What Good Am I?”) with some evocative originals he co
wrote.

No Better T
han This by John Mellencamp (59)
Always interested in populist Folk tunes about the state of America, Mellencamp has continued to strip his sound to better bare his gruff, plaintive voice. Working with producer T Bone Burnett and using one microphone and a mono tape recorder, he’s made an album that sounds new and relevant in its
oldness.

Ba
nd of Joy by Robert Plant (62)
Too musically curious to just keep re-mining his Led Zep days, Plant and his expert Americana producer, Buddy Miller, put his love for all things Rock into a collection of atmospheric, mysterious originals and covers, like Low’s
Monkey.”

You Are
Not Alone by Mavis Staples (71)
After recently having Ry Cooder produce a classic album for her, Staples turned to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy for this, which stays true to her Gospel sensibilities while adding some fine new material (Tweedy’s title song, for instance) to her r
epertoire.

My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope
to the Sky by Swans (led by Michael Gira, 56): Creative use of noise is one of Rock’s greatest contributions to popular music and Gira’s Swans have been in the forefront. But on their first album in 14 years, they find space for quieter, bluesy (and eerie) songs with penetrating lyrics that demand attention.

http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-22351-our-beautiful-dark-listed-fantasies.html

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