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Music Reviews

Updated 14 February 2009

These are just a few album reviews I've gotten around to adding to the site. More to come later . . .

Reviews of Runaway EP

Matt Ashare, "Jim Carroll: Runaway." Boston Phoenix, 4-11 Jan. 2001.
"Carroll gives 'Runaway' his best shot, and he gets through it without hurting anyone. . . . what makes this five-track EP a welcome addition to Carroll's discography are the three tracks that he recorded live at Seattle's Crocodile Café in November 1998."

Hannah Levin, "Runaway EP (Kill Rock Stars)." Seattle, 2000.
"Although there's no new material on this just-released five-song EP, it features a pleasing handful of demo and live versions of some of his unsung classics." HTML | PDF

Reviews of Pools of Mercury

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Christina Apeles, "Jim Carroll, Pools of Mercury." Consumable Online, Nov./Dec. 1998.
"I could never know what it's like listening to Jim Carroll from a man's point of view, but as a woman, to hear him read his poetry, is to be enraptured. HTML | PDF

David D. Duncan, Review of Pools of Mercury. Memphis Flyer, 28 Dec. 1998.
"Listening to Jim Carroll’s music is a lot like reading his poetry – it’s usually a harrowing journey, but one worth all the ensuing trauma."

Wayne Klick, "Wayne's Weekly Reader." 17 Feb. 1999.
"I find it odd that the adjectives I would use to describe this CD seem clichéd: haunting, dark, introspective, surreal. This recording is anything but a cliché. It is in fact unlike anything I have ever heard before -- a fascinating mix."

Jim Macnie. Review of Pools of Mercury. Boston Phoenix, 9 Nov. 1998.
"It starts with a promise of decapitation, as if to prove that his punkishness is still in effect almost two decades after Catholic Boy's skag stories turned heads."

Paul McDonald, "Mercury Rising." Louisville Eccentric Observer, 1998.
"When you hear Jim Carroll's voice, you know you're in for an interesting ride."

Mitch Myers, "A Christmas Carroll.", 22 Dec. 1998.
"The man's jaundiced eye is as unforgiving as ever and his words alternately flow and explode with precision and dour insight."
I seem to have lost this article. If anyone has it, please email me!

Stephen Perrin, "Jim Carroll: The Poet Speaks." Beat Scene 32 (1999): 59.
"The problem with Carroll is that he has always had two voices and most commentators have chosen to privilege the street talking wise ass adolescent narrator of the diaries over the more measured tones which tend to dominate his poetry. In a some ways this vocal schizophrenia can be seen as a dramatisation of the conflict between America and Europe."
Perrin reviews both Pools of Mercury and Void of Course.

Mark Richard-San, Review of Pools of Mercury. Pitchfork, Winter 1998.
A stooopid review.

Review of The Basketball Diaries

"The Basketball Diaries (Audio Literature)." Publishers Weekly 241.49 (5 Dec. 1994): 34.
"Carroll, now a poet and sometime rock musician living in New York, reads in a voice that trembles and shakes with a hesitant delicacy. He still manages to evoke his wiseass teenage outlook and a tough anger at the world."

Review of Praying Mantis

CMJ (College Music Journal). Review of Praying Mantis. 6 Dec. 1991.
"You notice the surprise in Carroll's own voice as you hear the twisted images and the rich descriptions leak from his brain to his almost stammering lips, which emit each piece with wide-eyed wonderment-like a child witnessing lightning for the first time." HTML | PDF

Review of A World Without Gravity: The Best of the Jim Carroll Band

James Lien. CMJ (College Music Journal). Review of The Best of the Jim Carroll Band. 4 October 1993.
"As important as Jim Carroll's albums were, they're even better when distilled into one action-packed CD."

Reviews of I Write Your Name

Review of I Write Your Name. CMJ (College Music Journal). 30 Jan. 1984.
"Don't be scared off by Carroll's "image." He's a brilliant poet and troubador with a razor-sharp rock edge-and his music deserves to be heard."

Danny Sugerman. Review of I Write Your Name. Creem June 1984 : 55.
"I Write Your Name is the album Jim Carroll always wanted to make and should have made but couldn't until now. This is the one, not his other two." Download PDF

Review of Dry Dreams

Suzan Crane. CMJ (College Music Journal). Review of Dry Dreams. 24 May 1982.
"Dry Dreams simply serves to reconfirm his status as poet cum laude - not poet cum vocalist."

Review of Catholic Boy

Richard Riegel. "Subterranean Urbanesque Blues." Creem Feb. 1981: 44.
"Pardon my critic's disbelief that rock 'n' roll this intense and true has come from what I've always smugly called 'a real writer,' but Jim Carroll's done it, over and over, for sure." Download PDF

Review of Put Your Tongue to the Rail

Cassie Carter, "The Fire's Reflection." Exclusive to The Jim Carroll Website (2000).
"The project does not worship the Carroll legend, but rather it spotlights the lyrical and musical strength of The Jim Carroll Band. With the unifying vision of Carroll’s lyrics as its center, it also effectively showcases the diverse talents of the Philadelphia music scene."

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