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17 April 2009

David Ackles - 'Subway To the Country' (Elektra)

Source: Jerry's, probably around 2000, for maybe $4 or $5.

The curls of Dylan, the subject material of Scott Walker, the pipes more like Tim Buckley and a vibe that is part Frank Sinatra ... David Ackles is an odd one. I'm always up for records about transportation though this one is a mix between limp 60's AOR songwriting and really dark, fucked up shit like 'Candy Man'. I've never been able to view this album as anything but a showcase for this song, which is about a deranged vet opening a candy store and hiding porn in his stock for kids to find. The generally average backing band lays on the cheese when this climaxes, but it's all good - dark organ swirls give it the psychodelic atmosphere it deserves. It's an amazing song but not particularly well-written, if you get my drift. The rest of the record has a few duds, which come off as either lounge act posturing or lame blues-rock ballads (such as 'Out on the Road') ;; still, the session musicians sneak in some nice details. The whole album is only 8 songs, 4 to a side, and side 2 is probably stronger (or at least more fun to follow along on the lyrics sheet). 'Woman River' is probably the sleeper, as it bends and melts like a wax kiss on champagne. 'Inmates of the Institution' seems to warrant some mention because it's all shouty and serious and Malthusian, yet when it's over I just want to go back and listen to 'Candy Man' again.

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