Love Is Overtaking Me

Love Is Overtaking Me

by Arthur Russell


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Since 2005, New York City's Audika imprint has dedicated itself to releasing the recordings of the late composer, cellist, and singer/songwriter Arthur Russell, a musical polymath who was as comfortable in the discos of Manhattan as he was in a cowboy hat in the fields as he appears here, on the cover of Love Is Overtaking Me. Audika has issued four albums -- three different compilations centering on different aspects of his musical adventurousness, an EP, and his seminal World of Echo album. Love Is Overtaking Me contains 21 tracks recorded between 1974 and 1990. It reveals another dimension of this seemingly limitless musician: his pop and country-ish recordings, done solo as demos, in session with the brilliant John Hammond at Columbia, and with musicians from the East Village and downtown scenes including Peter Gordon Ernie Brooks, Andy Paley, Jerry Harrison, Steven Hall, Larry Saltzman, Jon Gibson, Jimmy Chamberlain, David Van Tieghem, and Peter Zummo. Some of these are rehearsal versions of tunes he performed and recorded with his bands the Flying Hearts and the Sailboats project with Hall. Russell's companion Tom Lee wrote the liner notes to this set and discusses the sheer possibility for mass appeal in these songs; he's not exaggerating. Take a listen to the demo of the title track recorded with Hall on guitar, drummer Rob Shepperson, and conguero Mustafa Khaliq Ahmed. Its verse/chorus structure is woven straight from classic organic pop
ock melody -- think a less twisted Jonathan Richman -- and is utterly infectious. Elsewhere, in "I Couldn't Say It to Your Face," one can hear traces of John Lennon, James Taylor, and Randy Newman. Recorded by Hammond, this cut featured a full band with Gibson, Brooks, Gordon, Paley, trombonist Garrett List, and bassist Jon Sholle. The melody shimmers underneath a lyric that contains warmth, love, anger, and irony. The very next track, "This Time Dad You're Wrong," with a standard rock quartet, features a shuffling country rhythm under a melody that combines the sophistication of Big Star and the poetic directness of Willie Nelson. The latter is exaggerated a bit on the spoken/sung "What It's Like," but it's a story song and it works. The opening number, "Close My Eyes," is a pure country waltz, with Russell accompanying himself on a guitar -- he was almost as deft on it as he was on cello. These tunes reflect Russell's California origins. But there's the other side too; the New York side in the rockin' "Big Moon" and "Janine," which, though utterly friendly and even beautiful, is a kind of fractured future pop that transcends its form. On "Love Comes Back," Russell accompanies himself with a cheap drum machine and keyboards; he closes the entire argument as to what he was about artistically no matter how wide-ranging his recordings were: he was a composer and songwriter who wished -- and succeeded -- to express tenderness, empathy, and gentleness in everything he did. Russell's music connected with so many of his peers -- no matter what scene they were in -- and with his posthumous listeners for that reason alone. Russell was 100-percent genuine, and as Ted Berrigan once wrote, "on the level, everyday." This is one of the finest chapters yet in Audika's continuing retrospective. Let's hope there is still more where this came from.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/28/2008
Label: Audika Records
UPC: 0880301101022
catalogNumber: 10102
Rank: 29017

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Arthur Russell   Primary Artist,Guitar,Cello,Keyboards,Vocals,Linn Drum
Peter Laurence Gordon   Tenor Saxophone
Jerry Harrison   Organ
John Bergamo   Tabla
David LaFlamme   Violin
Garrett List   Trombone
Sid Page   Violin
Jon Sholle   Guitar
Jon Gibson   Clarinet
Peter Zummo   Trombone
Michael Adams   Flute
Joyce Bowden   Vocals
Ernie Brooks   Bass
Jesse Chamberlain   Drums
Rick Jaeger   Drums
Jason Klagstad   Guitar
Bob Maize   Bass
Andy Paley   Drums
Jonathan Paley   Guitar,Drums,Tambourine
Larry Saltzman   Guitar
David Stone   Violin
David Van Tieghem   Drums
Steve Warren   Bass
John Scherman   Guitar
Mustafa Khaliq Ahmed   Percussion,Conga
Steven Hall   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Randy Gunn   Guitar
Steven Hall   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Mustafa Ahmed   Percussion
Kent Goshorn   Guitar
Johnie Bartel   Violin
John Scharman   Guitar
Huzur Nawaz   Clarinet
Darrius Thabit   Guitar
Cecil Milligan   Tamboura
Rob Shepperson   Drums,Vocals

Technical Credits

Arthur Russell   Producer,drum programming,Audio Production
Bob Blank   Engineer
John Hammond   Audio Production
David Vartanian   Engineer
Steven Miglio   Art Direction
Tom "Sisu" Lee   Liner Notes
Steve Knutson   Executive Producer
John F. Hammond   Producer
Mark Friedman   Engineer

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