Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rare Jonathan Richman Demos

By Evan Rytlewski
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Arriving, fittingly, on the heels of that Velvet Underground bootleg that made the rounds online in February, the blogs have been passing around links to a recently unearthed a rare—as “Richman’s biggest fans never even knew this thing existed” rare—Jonathan Richman set of demos from the early 1980s named Jonathan Goes Funky.

It’s a worth hearing for both Richman fans and those whose Richman familiarity ends with the first Modern Lovers record. Based on the doo-wop backing vocals and the song selection, which includes two (presumably early versions) of tracks that made Richman’s Jonathan Sings album, these six tracks date back to about 1982, and the songs, although for the most part not as funky as the claims, are notable for how happy they are. Even Richman’s stripped-down recent albums sound downright dark and dispirited compared to his output from this period.

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