I bought this for two reasons. First, we’d seen the documentary The Devil And Daniel Johnson and I’d had to admit that I hadn’t heard too much of his stuff to that point even though I knew roughly who he was long before. Second, there’s a Tom Waits song here, and we always buy things that have Tom Waits on them by default.
It’s all been said (and filmed) about Daniel Johnston already, so I won’t belabour this review with redundancy. Suffice it to say that, whatever his issues, the man can truly write songs that cut right to the point.
The concept on this disc is pretty neat. A Who’s Who of alternative/college/indie rock heroes all contributed a cover version of a Johnston song, with the corresponding original on the second disc. By and large, the cover tunes are excellent. They sound exactly like you would expect them to sound when you think of each artist. The covers are fuller sounding than the originals, but that’s a comment on Johnston’s recording sensibilities not on the quality of this set.
And the Tom Waits song? Probably the worst we’ve ever heard him do. It’s so rare we say that, but man, this was so repetitive we shut it off before even reaching the end. He could probably have chosen a better song. So be it.
This is still a cool set. You should hear it.
Disc One – The Covers
01 Teenage Fanclub w. Jad Fair – My Life Is Starting Over Again
02 Clem Snide – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievience
03 Gordan Gano – Impossible Love
04 Eels – Living Life
05 TV On The Radio – Walking The Cow
06 The Rabbit – Good Morning You
07 Calvin Johnston – Sorry Entertainer
08 Bright Eyes – Devil Town
09 Death Cab For Cutie – Dream Scream
10 Beck – True Love Will Find You In The End
11 Sparklehorse w. The Flaming Lips – Go
12 Mercury Rev – Blue Clouds
13 Thistle – Love Not Dead
14 Vic Chesnutt – Like A Monkey In The Zoo
15 Starlight Mints – Dead Lovers Twisted Heart
16 M. Ward – Story Of An Artist
17 Guster – The Sun Shines Down On Me
18 Tom Waits – King Kong
Disc Two – The Originals (in the same track order)