What more can be said about Jonathan Richman? Chico is extremely lucky to be a hometown stop-of-sorts for the lovable acoustic troubadour called everything from “America’s greatest entertainer” (The Rocket, Seattle) to a “true rock legend” (New York Times) and “better than gold” (Rolling Stone).
A poet of relationship songs educated in the Velvet Underground school, Richman mixes ‘50s rock with punk-spirited, acoustic/flamenco rock for an earnest sound that rarely fails to move the heart or feet, and this new record contains more great odes to human feeling. Production values alternate between co-producer Niko Bolas’ efforts at “Technicolor” studio sound, to more stripped-down live-duo fare.
On several tracks, a fine supporting cast, including members of Tom Waits’ band—the great woodwind maestro Ralph Carney and percussionist Steve Hodges—as well as alt-pop legends the Rubinoos, joins Richman and drummer Tommy Larkins.
The album feels almost like a capsule of many of Richman’s former album approaches, from musical-soundtrack-like work ("My Love For Her Ain’t Sad") to the several Spanish-language selections that close out the record (songs like “Vampiresa Mujer” transport one to old Spanish villas).
It’s also great to hear Jonathan re-recording some of his hard-to-find material, like perennial live favorite (included here) and rocking nod to romanticism, "Give Paris One More Chance, "with a hard beat and slightly changed lyrics. If you haven’t given Jonathan a chance yet, you really should.