By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Chapin’s music has been labeled "post-bop" — what a colorless phrase to describe such irrepressible variety. In "Night Bird Song" alone, you can find Charlie Haden meditation, Henry Threadgill motivational rasp, lopsided funk riffage and silvery flute elasticity — and each new track is a journey to a different uncharted land. Eclectic? Nope. This kind of originality and integrity is no grab bag. It can get born only when the world is seen through one very distinctive set of eyes. (Greg Burk)VICTIMAS DEL DOCTOR CEREBRO Boutique 2000 (EMI-Latin)
The first song, "Gusano de Maguey," opens with a techno-rock beat that later bleeds into a soul-scream rage, and you have to ask, What’s with the White Zombie/Trent Reznor sound in Spanish? New music for the turn of the century? Not likely. Inventive and fun? Not often. Mexico City’s Victimas del Doctor Cerebro scored a reputation for incorporating theatrical antics into a patient brand of punk-metal, and obviously they’re looking to keep abreast of the times. But you’d think that, after several years of cranking out the same slam-punk tunes, the band would have evolved — à la Café Tacuba or Los Fabulosos Cadillacs — into something deeper.
Not on this record. Though Victimas are still a wild handful as a live act, Boutique comes off flat, with less than a handful of sparklers. The few highlights include the hip-hoppy "Señor Viaje," a fusion mess that thumps big-time to the distorted vocals of Ricardo Flores, who does his best Zack De La Rocha impression. The powerful "Diez," a soothing lament set against a simple rock riff, is clearly the best cut; Flores’ gentle vocals and a bluesy horn arrangement make it infectious. The spare, straightforward "Humanos" stretches the band’s stylistic reach when melodious violins underplay to a Queen-like stomp and Flores’ falsetto.
Fashionable genre trappings notwithstanding, Victimas shine best when they keep it simple. Boutique is a forgettable album that too often opts for glitz in place of real innovation. (Paul Saucido)Rose Maddox, 1925–1998
Country singer Rose Maddox, who began her groundbreaking career in 1937 at the age of 11, passed away at an Ashland, Oregon, rest home on April 15; the official cause is kidney failure. As leader of the Maddox Bros. & Rose circa 1949, Rose was one of America’s first national female country stars (million-selling yodeler Patsy Montana was, after all, strictly a Western singer, and Kitty Wells at the time was rushing out covers of Rose’s songs). A former member of the Grand Ole Opry and Louisiana Hayride, Maddox recorded for the Starday, 4 Star, Columbia and Capitol labels, a body of work that ranks among the most influential and progressive in country-music history.
Johnny Cash called Rose "one of the most exciting, fascinating performers I’ve ever seen. An American classic." No less an authority than Hank Williams Sr. once told her, "You are as important to country music as Roy Acuff." Dolly Parton has called Rose "my main inspiration." A national treasure, Maddox was hardly a relic: In 1996, her $35 and a Dream album (Arhoolie) won a Grammy nomination, and she also received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association of Owensboro, Kentucky.
Born August 15, 1925, in Boaz, Alabama, Rose accompanied her family to California at the height of the Great Depression in 1933, a trip the clan made by jumping boxcars. The Maddox Bros. & Rose formed in 1937, began broadcasting on Modesto’s KTRB, and by the end of WWII were making national waves with their high-impact blend of old-timey mountain music and hot, jet-age honky-tonk. Known as "the Most Colorful Hillbilly Band in America," the Maddoxes were the very first country-music act to don extravagantly embroidered and rhinestone-spangled stagewear (created by Van Nuys tailor Nathan Turk), and introduced the image to Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry in 1949. "Their costumes," Tennessee Ernie Ford later said, "made Liberace look like a plucked chicken!"
When the band split in 1957, Rose went on to record as a solo act for Columbia (which held three separate contracts with her at one point in the mid-’50s) and for Capitol, singing country, rockabilly, pop and sacred songs; she was also, with an assist from Bill Monroe, the first woman ever to record a bluegrass album; in 1963, Cashbox named her Top Female Singer; at the height of Patsy Cline’s popularity, Rose’s "Sing a Little Song of Heartache," one of her 15 chart hits, spent 37 straight weeks in Billboard’s Country Top 20. She never ceased performing, and in recent years she recorded a critically acclaimed album with Merle Haggard (1983’s Queen of the West), and was prominently featured in the 1991 PBS documentary Bakersfield Countryand in CBS’s 1993 The Women of Country special; my authorized biography, Ramblin’ Rose: The Life and Career of Rose Maddox, was published last year in Nashville by the Country Music Foundation. A regular performer in Europe and on the festival and nightclub circuit up until last year (her final public appearance in California was at Ronnie Mack’s Barndance in June 1997), Rose Maddox was a true country-music champion whose fiery, traditional singing style still echoes through today’s country music.
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