Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Article excerpt

"MONO USA" Ben Vaughn (Bar/None)

Ben Vaughn's lifelong love thang with rock 'n' roll radio is apparent to anyone who's heard his solo work, caught him live or bought one of the many discs he's produced. He's a musician, songwriter and producer who appreciates everyone from Iggy and the Stooges to Burt Bacharach to Johnny Cash. Should it really come as a shock that his treatment of overlooked pop curios is recorded in mono?

"Mono USA" is an infectious 18-song sampling of long-forgotten Top 40 hits, surf-rock tunes and songs by such diverse folks as Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, Dion and Suicide's Alan Vega.

Vaughn displays his fondness for twang guitar by covering material by the Ventures, Bobby Fuller, Link Wray and Johnny and the Hurricanes. He pays tribute to songwriters such as Fred Neil ("Blues on the Ceiling") and Lee Hazelwood ("Sundown Sundown"). And he tips his hat to producers such as Huey Meaux (check out Vaughn's rendering of the Charlie Rich tune "Just a Little Bit of You").

Recorded for $140 in his basement studio, the collection isn't an excursion into kitsch - the cover of Lobo's "Big Red Kite" notwithstanding. Vaughn lovingly gives these songs his spit-and-polish conditioning, almost effortlessly recapturing elusive pop vibes of the past. Rather, "Mono USA" is convincing testament to the endurance of pop music that so-called discriminating listeners dismissed long ago.

Would you expect anything less from the guy who wrote a song about the joys of trashpicking? Mark de La Vina, Knight-Ridder

***** "THE COMPLETE BLUE NOTE 1964-66" Jackie McLean Sessions (Mosaic)

The hard-bop movement of the '50s, which infused bebop with elements of soul and gospel music, tended to drift into self-parody in the early 1960s, with even talented musicians like Cannonball Adderley and Lou Donaldson speaking mainly in funk cliches. …

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