Michelle Shocked Archives

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by William Ruhlmann
Goldmine Magazine
July 29, 1988
Original article: PDF

This Texas-born folksinger was recorded on a Sony Walkman at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1986, with percussion provided by the local crickets. The result was first issued on the U.K. indie Cooking Vinyl [label] in late ’86, and now that Shocked has been signed to PolyGram, has been released for the first time domestically.

Shocked sings in a voice by turns wispy and biting, simultaneously reminiscent of very early Dylan and Rickie Lee Jones. The songs, set to familiar folk and blues tunes, are full of wry observations and anecdotes. Closer to Texas writers like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt than the more sincere and sentimental Eastern folkies, Shocked specializes in fragments (one song is called “The Incomplete Image”) and flippant wordplay. Beyond the novelty of this homemade recording, it suggests a writing talent of unusual sharpness.

Added to Library on February 14, 2023. (408)

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