Threesome 3-CD set (2005)

$300.00

From Amazon.com
Michelle Shocked released three albums simultaneously on June 21, 2005: Mexican Standoff, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and Got No Strings. They were collected together in this three-CD set, appropriately titled Threesome.

Mexican Standoff

Shocked sounds particularly playful while playing things loose on the most roots-oriented of these three albums. Stylistically, Mexican Standoff divides itself down the middle, with the first half exploring Mexican border music and the second half devoted to Texas-style blues. The Mexican music ranges from the mariachi brass of “Lonely Planet” to the conjunto accordion of “La Cantina el Gato Negro” to the torchy “Match Burns Twice.” On “Wanted Man,” Shocked moves into the sort of narrative territory frequented by the likes of Joe Ely and Tom Russell, while “Picoesque” matches gospel piano with vocal dramatics so over the top they amount to caricature. While the first half of the album is all over the musical map, the bluesy half is more of a piece, with stinging guitar and bedrock organ suggesting that Shocked has channeled the swaggering spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is the most seriously ambitious and eclectic of the three, so much so that Shocked might have considered combining the strongest tracks from its companions with the best here to make a single powerhouse release. It’s also the least conceptually focused, though the centerpiece of a kiss-off song, “Hardly Gonna Miss Him,” suggests a theme of love gone bad, reinforced by titles such as “Elaborate Sabotage,” “Fools Like Us,” “Evacuation Route” and “Goodbye.” Whatever Shocked has lost with the end of a relationship, the song cycle benefits from a creative emancipation. Like a musical chameleon as she adopts various vocal styles, she sounds willing to try anything–from the jazzy sophistication of “Early Morning Saturday” to the hipster spoken-word wisdom of “How You Play the Game” to the rollicking New Orleans spirit of “Don’t Tell.” Most atmospherically audacious is “Don’t Ask,” which sounds like a cross between Dr. John in his Night Tripper days and Uncle Remus. Don’t miss the unlisted bonus track, which ends Shocked’s most diverse collection to date in an explosion of punk-rock fury.

Got No Strings

The most kid-friendly of the three, Got No Strings brings the spirit of swing–from western to supper-club–to a collection of Disney soundtrack tunes. The steel guitar of Greg Leisz helps transform the familiar “A Dream Is a Wish” into a honky-tonk waltz, until the sprightly fiddle of Gabe Witcher takes a break that recalls the 1930s’ Hot Club of France. Shocked imbues “When You Wish upon a Star” with a breathy sophistication, gives “A Spoonful of Sugar” a bluesy tinge, and has never sounded more tender than she does on the lullaby “Baby Mine.” Producer/guitarist Nick Forster of Hot Rize and band provide sprightly support throughout. From the hipster scat of “To Be a Cat” to the concluding yodel of “A Spoonful of Sugar,” Shocked and her musicians sound like they’re having fun. –Don McLeese

Disc: 1
1. Lonely Planet
2. La Cantina El Gato Negro
3. Wanted Man
4. Picoesque
5. Match Burns Twice
6. Mouth Of The Mississippi
7. Bitter Pill
8. 180 Proof
9. Weasel Be Poppin’
10. Blackjack Heart

Disc: 2
1. Early Morning Saturday
2. How You Play The Game
3. Don’t Ask
4. Used Car Lot
5. Hardly Gonna Miss Him
6. Evacuation Route
7. Fools Like Us
8. Elaborate Sabotage
9. Don’t Tell
10. Goodbye
11. Hi Skool

Disc: 3
1. To Be A Cat
2. Give A Little Whistle
3. Got No Strings
4. Spoonful Of Sugar
5. Spectrum
6. Wish Upon A Star
7. Baby Mine
8. A Dream Is A Wish
9. Bare Necessities
10. On The Front Porch

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Description

From Amazon.com
Michelle Shocked released three albums simultaneously on June 21, 2005: Mexican Standoff, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and Got No Strings. They were collected together in this three-CD set, appropriately titled Threesome.

Mexican Standoff

Shocked sounds particularly playful while playing things loose on the most roots-oriented of these three albums. Stylistically, Mexican Standoff divides itself down the middle, with the first half exploring Mexican border music and the second half devoted to Texas-style blues. The Mexican music ranges from the mariachi brass of “Lonely Planet” to the conjunto accordion of “La Cantina el Gato Negro” to the torchy “Match Burns Twice.” On “Wanted Man,” Shocked moves into the sort of narrative territory frequented by the likes of Joe Ely and Tom Russell, while “Picoesque” matches gospel piano with vocal dramatics so over the top they amount to caricature. While the first half of the album is all over the musical map, the bluesy half is more of a piece, with stinging guitar and bedrock organ suggesting that Shocked has channeled the swaggering spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is the most seriously ambitious and eclectic of the three, so much so that Shocked might have considered combining the strongest tracks from its companions with the best here to make a single powerhouse release. It’s also the least conceptually focused, though the centerpiece of a kiss-off song, “Hardly Gonna Miss Him,” suggests a theme of love gone bad, reinforced by titles such as “Elaborate Sabotage,” “Fools Like Us,” “Evacuation Route” and “Goodbye.” Whatever Shocked has lost with the end of a relationship, the song cycle benefits from a creative emancipation. Like a musical chameleon as she adopts various vocal styles, she sounds willing to try anything–from the jazzy sophistication of “Early Morning Saturday” to the hipster spoken-word wisdom of “How You Play the Game” to the rollicking New Orleans spirit of “Don’t Tell.” Most atmospherically audacious is “Don’t Ask,” which sounds like a cross between Dr. John in his Night Tripper days and Uncle Remus. Don’t miss the unlisted bonus track, which ends Shocked’s most diverse collection to date in an explosion of punk-rock fury.

Got No Strings

The most kid-friendly of the three, Got No Strings brings the spirit of swing–from western to supper-club–to a collection of Disney soundtrack tunes. The steel guitar of Greg Leisz helps transform the familiar “A Dream Is a Wish” into a honky-tonk waltz, until the sprightly fiddle of Gabe Witcher takes a break that recalls the 1930s’ Hot Club of France. Shocked imbues “When You Wish upon a Star” with a breathy sophistication, gives “A Spoonful of Sugar” a bluesy tinge, and has never sounded more tender than she does on the lullaby “Baby Mine.” Producer/guitarist Nick Forster of Hot Rize and band provide sprightly support throughout. From the hipster scat of “To Be a Cat” to the concluding yodel of “A Spoonful of Sugar,” Shocked and her musicians sound like they’re having fun. –Don McLeese

Disc: 1
1. Lonely Planet
2. La Cantina El Gato Negro
3. Wanted Man
4. Picoesque
5. Match Burns Twice
6. Mouth Of The Mississippi
7. Bitter Pill
8. 180 Proof
9. Weasel Be Poppin’
10. Blackjack Heart

Disc: 2
1. Early Morning Saturday
2. How You Play The Game
3. Don’t Ask
4. Used Car Lot
5. Hardly Gonna Miss Him
6. Evacuation Route
7. Fools Like Us
8. Elaborate Sabotage
9. Don’t Tell
10. Goodbye
11. Hi Skool

Disc: 3
1. To Be A Cat
2. Give A Little Whistle
3. Got No Strings
4. Spoonful Of Sugar
5. Spectrum
6. Wish Upon A Star
7. Baby Mine
8. A Dream Is A Wish
9. Bare Necessities
10. On The Front Porch