Thursday, April 24

Her Beauty is raw ...but not funny

I have had mixed feelings about “Because her beauty is raw and wild” as the first eponymous song seemed to be just the following of what Jonathan had done before in his recordings since “I’m confused”. But I was wrong, this new album stands on its own right and it is some masterwork.
Already the pictures on the booklet are everything but canonical beauty when we are confronted with those gloomy deserted greenish flats. I had a proper listening to the full CD and found disillusion, heart-gripping feelings and sincerity. Now I understand the choice of covering Leonard Cohen, the paths between the 2 singers are getting closer.

“No one is like Vermeer” is another of Jonathan’s rendition of a favourite painters of his, in the gallery of Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali and to some extent Cezanne in “Girlfren”. Jonathan has not the same vision as me about Vermeer, I think he has a biased impressionistic approach but who cares as this is a terrific song with a battling rolling drumming from Tom Larkins.
The drummer extraordinaire is again enhancing the following song, “Time has been going fast” (we’ve been having fun), Jonathan is calling him to solo at mid song. “Time..” sounds to me like the nostalgia for all the good old times which vanished with adult age coming.

“Es como el par” introduced as we want the moment shows once more the link between Jonathan and Spanish culture, he just loves to sing in that language and his guitar takes free moves, this the light-hearted song of the CD.

“Our drab ways” (you are the light of the world) floats on atmospheric waves delivered magically by Tom using softly mallets on gongs. I have to hear this one again as I was hypnotized by the percussions. The Tucson resident surely knows his drumming.

“The lovers are here and they’re full of sweat” (laughing, crying and so upset – I love those rhymes) sounds like a joyous entertaining song. I suspect it is not as Jonathan is insisting on the painful part of the situation, not the merry, laughing ones. Are those Modern lovers, I wonder?

“Le printemps des amoureux est venu” (Lovers springtime has come), I could not help laughing at the great rhyming verses
Les amoureux qui n’ont pas d’interest (sic)
Dans le monde du bizness.

“When we refuse to suffer”, this could be a hit. A great dynamic song with perfect mix of guitar and drums. Speaking of disillusion, the lyrics are quite explicit
When we refuse to feel
That’s when the prozac wins

“This romance will be different for me” (once I was young and nervous) introspective song, Jonathan self-pitying about his lonely heart. Great guitar play though.

“Old world” this is one of the keys to understand Jonathan’s concept in this CD. The upgrade of a song from his youth in another end of an era message, really in phase with the pics on the sleeve. Never had this old world looked gloomier and the tempo a la Sister Ray is another homage to the Velvets, even Tom is mimicking Moe Tucker's recognisable beat.

“Our party will be on the beach tonight” is nothing like “party in the woods” or “californian US parties” he did before. This is more about the hangovers and the bad feelings of the after party, how there is charcoal and ashes spread everywhere . The added piano-cello “a la Satie” melody creates a uneasy atmosphere. A very sensible song, it sounds like real life and it is not funny, the lyrics are different from what we were used to about Jonathan parties:
We will bring our own watah (and not marijuana as I was mistaken at first listening)
And the blankets are there
We won’t care

Then we have the electric mix of “When we refuse to suffer” (the prozac will win and you lose). Jonathan sings in his old Modern Lovers rougher way, I prefer the acoustic version.

“Here it is”, the Cohen cover matches the other songs, though I remember Jonathan singing this live in 2003 with a deeper concern.

“And my mother lay lying”, what can I add about this which has not been told already.. I would spoil such a delicate eulogy.
Just this, when the song was over and as it was the last on the cd, there was silence around me again, I felt that this silence was still Jonathan.

s u z a n n e

Photo: Astrid Koniarski

German musician and film score composer Suzanne Piesker will open for Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins during their upcoming mini-tour of France and Italy. She plays piano on Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild, in the song "Our Party Will Be on the Beach Tonight."

Suzanne Piesker

Suzanne Piesker Myspace

Tuesday, April 22

Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild: I'm Liveblogging My First Listen

I'm halfway through. From the get-go, it's been stripped down, lo-fi as anything he's ever done. Minimal production. It's as though Jonathan and Tommy are right here in the room with me. The guitar sounds huge at times, like a mouse at others. The drums are like a gang of giant excited heartbeats speaking to me.

And the liner notes! By Jonathan himself! Off the cuff, like he's chatting with us about the content of the album. I like how he characterizes his songwriting process: the songs are all "thought up" at one time or another.

"Old World" sounds better than ever. The off-kilter piano noodlings in "Our Party Will Be On The Beach Tonight" are unlike anything I've ever heard Jonathan do (apart from his two soundtrack projects).

OMG: The reprise of "When We Refuse To Suffer", shift in the tone of the record, electric guitar now (big fat sound), kind of calypso, the yearning in the vocals. What kinetic energy!

And then there's this song. The one that made me cry when I heard him play it at the Make-Out Room last year or whenever. And it sounds just like it did there.


P.S. Katie at Mission Mission listened to it before me. Her thoughts here.

Un anniv' ca se fete !

Note from rb: Click through the image to see a larger version!

!!! Jojoblog is 4 Years Old Today !!!

We thought some of you might like to know some of the Jojoblog visitor statistics :

In the first few months Jojoblog had few visitors. By January 2005 visitors were still less than 75 per month

Since then, visitors have been growing month-by-month, especially so during last twelve months (2007), when the blog started regularly receiving over 2,500 visitors each month.

Last month, March 2008, was our highest ever month – with almost 5,500 site visits to the blog (is this due to the coming LP release?)

Jojoblog now receives something like 150 visitors daily

Almost half of these will be from the USA

And 42% are from Europe, but many are also coming from much further afield

Every day people from over 20 countries will be checking into Jojoblog

A typical spread of visitors is shown below (from 3 days ago, on 19th April 2008):
United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Argentina, Turkey, Algeria, Netherlands, Slovakia, Australia, Hungary, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden, India, Greece, Denmark, and Italy…

In total Jojoblog has received well over 82,000 visitors - and it's still growing fast!

Visitors up to 20th April 2008 Visitor Percentages by Country

Best wishes to all our contributors and visitors!!! - Here's to the next 12 months!!

Note from rb: tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis

These words were the first post on Jojoblog four years ago today. Thank you, everyone, for (unofficially) having a party with Jonathan Richman!

Sunday, April 20

beauty watch

Juno Records in the UK, has Jonathans new CD available to order right now - the release date is given as tomorrow, 21st April 2008, for £12.99, plus minimal P&P.
The following link will take you to their website, and also provide access to a short sample of each song: -

Juno Records


As of today it appears that Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild will likely be released April 22.

CD: still shows April 8, while has April 22, and Barnes & Noble has April 22.

Vinyl: Musicdirect has April 8, and CD Universe April 22.

Your local record store should be able to pre-order from ADA/Vapor.

Mark Deming at allmusic has this to say:

Jonathan Richman closes his 20th album, 2008's Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild, with "As My Mother Lay Lying," a simple, emotionally powerful song in which he sings about sitting with his mother as she hovered near death in a home for the elderly, and how much he continued to learn from her even in her final moments. It's a singular piece of work that without calling attention to itself shows how far Richman's muse has taken him in the past decade. While sweetness and unaffected emotional honesty still dominate Richman's music, he's quietly allowed his music to grow in unexpected ways, embracing French and Spanish as well as English, writing of art and the ecstasies of love with unforced intelligence and brio, and pondering the mysteries of life and decay in a manner that's never pretentious but still conveys the weight of his themes. Richman covers a Leonard Cohen number, "Here It Is," and it fits like a charm with the 12 new originals on this album (one divided into two parts); Richman may not share the same dark undercurrents that inform Cohen's lyrics, but as he's matured his songs reflect a depth and fearlessness these two songwriters certainly share, and the intimacy of these recordings, most featuring just Richman and percussionist Tommy Larkins, only adds to their effectiveness. When Jonathan Richman debuted with the Modern Lovers, he sounded like someone who had somehow managed to create his own style independent of what was happening in the world of music around him, and with Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild, he confirms that he's still following a path all his own, and it's a journey that's strange, compelling, and very beautiful.

Thanks Jerry!

Saturday, April 19

Spring 2008 USA tour recap

2775 ©2008 RosebudPenfold
Jonathan Richman in Athens (40 Watt Club) 1 March 2008

Inside Jojoblog:

Brooklyn welcomes Jonathan Richman

wandering all over Boston town

Of Mere Being: Vic Chesnutt

setlist 40 Watt (1 March)

Review: Kilby Court, Salt Lake City (20 March 2008)

2556 ©2008 RosebudPenfold
Tommy Larkins in Athens (40 Watt Club) 1 March 2008


Athens (40 Watt Club)

Chicago (The Abbey Pub) video and pictures

Omaha (The Waiting Room) and Lincoln, Nebraska (Knickerbocker's)

Salt Lake City (Kilby Court) 1

Salt Lake City (Kilby Court) 2

2951 ©2008 RosebudPenfold
JR fans in Omaha (The Waiting Room) 15 March 2008

(schedule reposted for archives)


Mon 25 Feb Norman OK (Da Opolis) -tix-
Tue 26 Feb Springfield MO (The Outland Ballroom)(also)
Wed 27 Feb Nashville TN (Five Spot)(also)
Thu 28 Feb Nashville TN (Five Spot)(also)
Fri 29 Feb Asheville NC (Grey Eagle) -tix-
Sat 1 Mar Athens GA (40 Watt Club) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Sun 2 Mar Atlanta GA (The Earl) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Tue 4 Mar Brooklyn NY (Music Hall of Williamsburg) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Wed 5 Mar Brooklyn NY (Music Hall of Williamsburg) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Thu 6 Mar Cambridge MA (The Middle East) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Fri 7 Mar Cambridge MA (Middle East Club Upstairs) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Sat 8 Mar Baltimore MD (8X10) with Vic Chesnutt
Mon 10 Mar Cleveland Heights OH (Grog Shop) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Tue 11 Mar St. Louis MO (Off Broadway Nightclub) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Wed 12 Mar Chicago IL (Abbey Pub) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Thu 13 Mar Madison WI (Orpheum Stage Door) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Fri 14 Mar Minneapolis MN (Cedar Cultural Center) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Sat 15 Mar Omaha NE (The Waiting Room) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Sun 16 Mar Lincoln NE (Knickerbockers) with Vic Chesnutt -tix-
Tue 18 Mar Denver CO (Lion's Lair) -tix-
Thu 20 Mar Salt Lake City UT (Kilby Court)

Friday, April 18

more summer 2008 tour dates

in Canada and USA via High Road Touring:

Sat 28 June Calgary AB Shaw Millennium Park
Mon 30 June Victoria BC Sugar Nightclub
Wed 2 July Vancouver BC Richard's on Richards Cabaret
Sat 5 July Portland OR Aladdin Theater

Thursday, April 17

egyptian reggae

Pascal Comelade

via Saskia to Jojolist

Thanks Jan!

Egyptian Reggae chords

This Pascal Comelade video and more at Jojoblog-neighbour's la Blogotheque's Les Concerts A Emporter

la Blogotheque

Tuesday, April 15

Kirsty and Donna and the mysteries of the universe

Kirsty MacColl sings "A New England"

This is Billy Bragg's "A New England," with lyrics specially rewritten for Kirsty MacColl. You can hear Billy Bragg performing this song here. Speaking of Billy Bragg and Jonathan Richman (well, weren't we though?), listen to Billy singing Jonathan's "Ice Cream Man" here.

And, to spiral the circle, here's the ageless Jonathan performing his own "New England" about the one in the USA

"New England" by Jonathan Richman lyrics

All this to draw your attention toward Wes Eichenwald's recent memoirs of his extraordinary Modern Love story with his soulmate Donna—a tender recollection of a trail with stops including Slovenia, New England and old England; through a landscape of mystery, grieving, globetrotting, music, serendipity, synchronicity and meaning- with a nudge from the internet, a spark via email, and a note from Christy McWilson.

Donna’s natural habitat was a piano bar. She had worked closely with, among others, the singing ringmaster of the Barnum & Bailey Circus as well as this guy [Ricky Ritzel], and was an excellent and dedicated cook, a Reiki practitioner, and a very entertaining raconteuse (without even trying, she had had encounters with a large number of celebrities, from Kathleen Turner and Liza Minnelli to Jackie Mason, Harvey Fierstein and Jonathan Richman, the latter of whom she had even helped inspire to write the song “You Can’t Talk To The Dude”). Clearly, this was someone worth getting to know.

How I got to this point, part I: Kirsty and Donna and the mysteries of the universe

How I got to this point, part II: Christy’s letter, the groom’s toast and farewell to Slovenia

Wes Eichenwald blogs at Pogoer 2.0: Memoirs of an experienced optimist

"You Can't Talk to the Dude" lyrics

Justice for Kirsty campaign

Friday, April 4

European Tour - May 2008

Note - Looks like there may be some additional shows added locally in Spain.

Thursday, April 3


MARGARET DOLL RODS new CD demolition cramps jon spencer

You're gonna think that this post is off topic, but I've always thought of Margaret as a kind of female Jonathan Richman : same kind of emotion, down to earth person, always giving their best even if the public is limited to a few persons, not desillusioned by a certain lack of success. To resume in three words, Margaret & Jojo are beautiful human beings.

Margaret Doll Rod just issued her new (and second) album, called "Scintillating", which I think must be liked a lot by Jojo fans. The album also should be better distributed, so spread the word.

I interview her about her album and introduced the interview with two questions about Jonathan (and Hasil Akins whose some of you are fond of, and all should be !).

Patrick : Margaret, I remember you once told me that the artists that inspired you the most are Hasil Adkins (RIP) and Jonathan Richman. What can you tell us about them.

Margaret : I can't tell you a whole lot about Jonathan Richman, because I have never met him. I do however love dancin my booty off at his shows. Hazil Adkins on the other hand was one of the sweetest and kindest crazy men I ever met. We'd talk for hours on the telephone and see who could holler the loudest, and laugh our butts off. When we met he always treated me like a little girl swinging me around and then ask me sumthin kind of sexy. Like do you wanna hunch. He made me cassettes of songs he would like to hear me cover, but I never did. I just liked listening to Hazil. He would tell me about my picture that he had up on the wall, and well I don't eat no more hot dogs.

P :Have you ever thought of covering a Jonathan Richman's song ? Which one ?

M : I never thought to cover a Jonathan Richman song, crazy thing is I rarely even think

I am super successful, because I live the life I love and I love the life I live, says Margaret

The rest of the interview will be here soon :