Stan Ridgway Black Diamond on 2LP + Bonus Tracks
First time ever on vinyl for Stan Ridgway's first solo album on an indie label (after albums for IRS, Geffen, and Capitol) from 1995, with 4 bonus vinyl-only tracks! Double vinyl housed beautiful black-on-black jackets.
"Stan Ridgway's songs tell stories of the kind Mark Twain describes in his “How to Tell a Story” – humorous, incongruous, indisputably in the American grain – replete with characters speaking as if entirely in cryptic pick-up lines, hatching schemes and imagining masterplans that can only go awry, engaging in getaways, pushing their luck and offering explanations for the deals that transpire without them. “Behind every fortune,” thinks a character in Ridgway's “Down the Coast Highway,” echoing a famous statement of Balzac's, “there's got to be a crime.” Then there's the storyteller's unmistakable delivery, ranging from the deadpan to the deranged, with bursts from his harmonica to fill out the landscapes. - A. Miller / Campus Circle
Best known for the new wave staple, "Mexican Radio," Stan Ridgway was the original vocalist for pioneering electro-punks, Wall Of Voodoo. Since WOV, Ridgway has produced several solo albums that have charted in the UK and Europe. Most notable is a collaboration with The Police's Stuart Copeland called "Don't Box Me In" that was featured on the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish starring Mickey Rourke, Matt Dillon and Dennis Hopper.
“Black Diamond, Stan Ridgway’s fourth solo album, is the work of a mature artist willing to take surprising risks. I cannot recall an album on which Ridgway has appeared, and this would include the long ago Wall of Voodoo period, on which he reveals so much of himself. Apparently, he has abandoned the personal mythologizing of Partyball (1991), his previous solo effort, for a more direct, confessional, approach.
Not that Ridgway’s satiric eye is not as keenly focused as ever (“Big Dumb Town”), or that his requisite gallery of emotional cripples is not also on display (the superb “Knife and Fork,” certainly to be the album’s first single). His compassion for the disenfranchised is unruly as always, as in “Down the Coast Highway,” a masterpiece, an example of what I have called elsewhere Ridgway’s “cross purpose” songwriting style. By “cross purpose” writing style, I mean that his songs pull the listener in contradictory emotional directions, the music invoking one response, the lyrics another.
One of our best singer/songwriters, he possesses a poet’s eye for nuance and detail, and also sensitive and vivid emotional states. Like other American originals, Ridgway likes to make the ordinary extraordinary. His subjects range from losses (“Gone the Distance,” a meditation on the late Kurt Cobain, and “Luther Played Guitar,” an homage to the late guitarist Luther Perkins, of the Tennessee Two, Johnny Cash’s original backing band), to betrayal (“Pink Parakeet”), to the yearning for redemption (“Underneath the Big Green Tree”).
As a (rare) cover, Ridgway also includes Bob Dylan’s “As I Went Out One Morning,” a modern version of Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” from John Wesley Harding (1967), the album to which Ridgway’s Mosquitos (1989) bears a noticeable similarity. Himself a belated romantic, the Keatsian echo here, as elsewhere in his work, is no surprise.
What I find remarkable about Black Diamond is its uncanniness, the way Ridgway shapes his musical forms to sound both familiar and unfamiliar, recognizable, yet alien. At times the emotional impact of his production approaches giddiness. “Luther Played Guitar” is reminiscent of early Johnny Cash, while “Stranded” sounds like it could be from the same period as Love’s masterful Forever Changes (1967). “Wild Bill Donovan” is suggestive of Phil Ochs, while “Crystal Palace” invokes (and does not invoke) Harry Nilsson. If there is the musical equivalent of the concept “retrofitting,” then this album defines it. Moreover, Ridgway still retains his ear for the cadences and sounds of ordinary language; he continues to capture in his vocals the quality of the American vernacular.
Always a fiercely independent artist, Black Diamond is Ridgway’s first album for Birdcage Records. The result is a very strong record of vast emotional range and superb songwriting. Incidentally, the oxymoronic title of the album is not an allusion to the song (of the same name) by Kiss. Black Diamond, I believe, alludes to Ridgway’s mining of heretofore untapped emotional depths and a period of introspection; the ore is a rare find indeed. The result is a collection of gems. I hope Ridgway keeps searching the mine.” - Prof. Sam Umland
Limited Edition of 500 ! 2 LP package . It's Now On Vinyl with 4 Extra Songs from the recording sessions ! Order yours right here from the good folks @ CDBaby. Stan says, "..fantastic ! " .
Album Notes: Double vinyl, beautiful black-on-black jackets, obi strip. First time ever on vinyl for Stan’s first solo album on an indie label (after albums for IRS, Geffen, and Capitol) from 1995, with 4 bonus vinyl-only tracks!
Stanard ‘Stan’ Ridgway (born April 5, 1954) is an American multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter known for his distinctive voice, dramatic lyrical narratives, and eclectic solo albums and was the original lead singer of the band Wall of Voodoo. Black Diamond appeared four years after Stan Ridgway’s previous solo album and sported a substantially different sound. Although Ridgway’s voice and unique storytelling lyrics put his stamp on whatever he attempts, the acoustic guitars and relatively straightforward approach on Black Diamond make it a distinct departure from everything he has done before. While “Big Dumb Town” and “Knife and Fork” are products of Ridgway’s usual fixations, “Gone the Distance” sounds almost like Neil Young, “As I Went Out One Morning” is a Bob Dylan song, and “Luther Played Guitar” is an utterly sincere C&W tribute to Johnny Cash and his Tennessee Two." ~ by Greg Adams
Track List: Side One:
1. Big Dumb Town (Ridgway) [4:20]
2. Gone the Distance (Ridgway) [3:03]
3. Knife and Fork (Ridgway) [4:52]
4. Down the Coast Hwy (Ridgway) [4:23]
5. Luther Played Guitar (Ridgway) [4:20]
6. Stranded (Ridgway) [4:51]
7. Wild Bill Donovan (Ridgway) [2:54]
8. Man of Stone (Ridgway) [3:47]
9. Pink Parakeet (Ridgway) [4:58]
10. Underneath the Big Green Tree (Ridgway) [3:21]
11. As I Went Out One Morning (Dylan) [3:13]
12. Crystal Palace (Ridgway) [6:50]
13. Hear That Bird
14. Here for the Long Run *
15. The Need *
16. Squintin’ at the Sun
17. Birdcage Records [Live] *
18. Crystal Palace [Live] *
* previously unreleased by Stan Ridgway / dis information music bmi
The Black Diamond 2xLP by Stan Ridgway is factory-sealed new. It has never been played and has always been kept in its original packaging. The LP is not a promo or cutout. There are no marks or punches of any kind.
“Black Diamond, Stan Ridgway’s fourth solo album, is the work of a mature artist willing to take surprising risks. I cannot recall an album on which Ridgway has appeared–and this would include the long ago Wall of Voodoo period–on which he reveals so much of himself." Beatnik Press
"...One of our best singer/songwriters, he possesses a poet’s eye for nuance and detail, and also sensitive and vivid emotional states. Like other American originals, Ridgway likes to make the ordinary extraordinary." ~ Prof. Sam Umland
Stan Ridgway is the music world's version of a character actor. With his barker's phrasing and sardonic demeanor, he's like the instantly identifiable second banana who brightens the screen for a few minutes before the leading man steps back to the fore. Of course, Ridgway has the same predicament as any good character actor: he's typecast. They remember that yapping voice from his early '80s Wall of Voodoo hits "Mexican Radio" and "Ring of Fire," and it's such a distinctive instrument that his identity has been frozen in time. Black Diamond is Ridgway's conscious effort to stretch out and break ties with his history. A low-budget affair, it finds the Southern California singer stripping down to spare guitar, keyboards, and percussion, in the process placing greater emphasis on his songs. Certainly "Luther Played Guitar" and "Wild Bill Donovan" don't fit with Ridgway's new wave past. The former finds the singer inhabiting the mind of Johnny Cash as he wistfully recalls his early sideman Luther Perkins. The latter is a one-part Warren Zevon tirade, one-part Bob Dylan folk ballad chronicling the exploits of one of America's seminal spies. Speaking of Dylan, Ridgway revives "As I Went Out One Morning" from John Wesley Harding, giving a refined reading to an intriguingly cryptic but seldom-covered song. "Gone the Distance" is yet another Kurt Cobain elegy.
The former Wall of Voodoo singer spins strange and surreal tales that keep you up at night. This album challenges more than a few of the assumptions that have been made about Stan Ridgway as a songwriter. Stan himself calls it "a song cycle for dreamers and schemers" and went on to say, "The songs took shape during the summer of '95, at a time when I was coming to grips with a lot of conflicting thoughts and feelings...And at the risk of sounding like some wounded folkie, this is probably the most personal record I've made so far.
Here's what critics are saying about Stan Ridgway..........
Ridgway's post-Wall of Voodoo output has, if anything, cemented his neo-noir rep as one of American music's greatest storytellers, the wild and wily Steinbeck of sad whiskey railroads and rusted, ramshackle American dreams." AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Neon Mirage, is arguably the most emotionally revealing, musically far-ranging album of the L.A. singer-songwriter's accomplished career." AMAZON
"Listening to Stan Ridgway is always like a musical voyage. As he sings about "your presence in the sand" there's no wonder you'll see a Neon Mirage in the distance. With help from Dave Alvin, Pietra Wexstun, Ralph Carney, Rick King and the late Amy Farris, every lick, note and lyric is post-futuristic and brings to mind the world we're busy ripping apart now. Neon Mirage is without a doubt, Ridgway's strongest effort in years, and one that finds him saddled up and ready to ride with a world-wise bent into the sunset of the unknown - mirage or not. Challenging, interesting, and always highly entertaining. This particular well is long from drying up." ELMORE
"Ridgway's work is always passionate and completely compelling and Neon Mirage is no exception...Stan Ridgway at his quixotic best, telling jagged tales of modern life gone wrong with a casual urgency and a novelist's eye for detail, all set to a soundtrack that soaks up light in a beautiful darkness like polished ebony." CITY BEAT
"Rueful reflections from one time Wall Of Voodoo singer. Mortality and the absurdity of human existence are among the thematic strands running through Ridgway's new Neon Mirage, a dazzling effort that takes its place among autumnal efforts by Zevon, Krisofferson and Dylan. A stately grappling with identity and meaning." UK UNCUT
"Stan Ridgway's Neon Mirage is arguably the most emotionally revealing, musically far-ranging album of the L.A. singer-songwriter's accomplished career." AMAZON
Probably the most compelling portrait of American social life to appear on a rock 'n' roll record since Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska." "The Big Heat" (1986) Greil Marcus in ART FORUM
"Take some of the nocturnal knowledge inherent to Los Angeles that Jim Morrison so famously tapped, add a bit of Dean Martin's way cool swing-a-ding-ding...and you'd be getting close to the subliminal wow of Stan Ridgway. ..It's a completely stunning work, full of strengths and surprises that even while we've come to expect them from Ridgway, they still ring home here with an inescapable heart.. and the world it describes and lessons it imparts are the kind that are downright prophetic." BENTLEY'S BANDSTAND
Wall of Voodoo leader Stan Ridgway is in a reflective mood on "Neon Mirage" one of the finest outings in his idiosyncratic career. Featuring the outstanding roots rocker Dave Alvin and prized session violinist Amy Farris, Ridgway looks for permanence in a forever-changing world. DETROIT FREE PRESS
"In a career that's found him consistently attempting to defy any and all pop parameters, Stan Ridgway's never faltered when it comes to revealing his more exotic intentions. He showed that inclination early on with Wall Of Voodoo, and subsequently pursued it through the retro jazz affectations, dark cinematic-like musings and scary film scores that have become so intrinsic to his solo ambitions. Neon Mirage shines a new light on Ridgway's inner psyche, while also inviting his listeners to fearlessly peer inside. " BLURT
"It's been over 25 years since Stan Ridgway and L.A.'s seminal Wall of Voodoo released Call of the West, and that calls for a drink. The album's dusty, Barstow-to-Bakersfield, Ross Macdonald-meets-Edward G. Ulmer in a Death Valley Detour to nowheresville title track and grimly optimistic film noir narratives still reverberate across the musical Route 66 Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgway paved, roadkill and all..." Ridgway's post-Wall of Voodoo output has, if anything, cemented his neo-noir rep as one of American music's greatest storytellers, the wild and wily Steinbeck of sad whiskey railroads and rusted, ramshackle American dreams." AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Singer/songwriter Stan Ridgway's new solo album is a glorious hard-boiled Hollywood road movie for the ears. " THE WIRE
Ridgway has become his own wireless theater. Spanning nearly 30 years in song, master storyteller Ridgway pulls out new and old work to dazzling effect. MUSICMUSE
"Stan Ridgway is a brilliant iconoclast with a catalog as strong as that of any more famous songwriter you'd care to name with terrific solo records like Snakebite, Anatomy, The Big Heat, Black Diamond, Partyball and Mosquitoes and more. Thoughtful and mature, the new Neon Mirage is a rich palette of colors, provided by his keyboardist Pietra Wexstun, longtime guitarist Rick King, woodwind maestro Ralph Carney, and the late great Amy Farris on violin and viola. A song cycle inspired as much by loss as by living, Neon Mirage strips his signature sound down to the bare essentials, while still remaining as eclectic as always. The tunes in turn act as windows into Ridgway's soul, a view he's rarely offered before – even if the curtains aren't all the way open...With voyages into territories old and new, Neon Mirage is one of the best albums in Ridgway's long, auspicious career." THE BIG TAKEOVER
"In fact he's an ingenious writer with a grip on low - life imagery that hearkens back to that of Burroughs, Bukowski and Brecht. If a modern American counterpart to Bertol Brecht's collaborations with Kurt Weil exits, it's the music of Stan Ridgway." SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Some know him just as the long lost singer with the great Wall Of Voodoo, others as one of the great unsung maverick geniuses of our time." MELODY MAKER
"For Stan Ridgway life is like an old detective movie, full of furtive con men and tough dames who hide their daily crimes in the gray mist of the city. This is mature music, short on sentimentality, long on imagination and style." PEOPLE MAGAZINE
"Stan Ridgway has a cast of thousands at his fingertips, and a wealth of tales in his head. A rare and famous talent. Not part of any club or click, just a maverick in his own right." LONDON MIDWEEK
"Stan Ridgway is one of the most unique and talented songwriters around." RECORD MIRROR
"Haunted by America's pulp serial past, Stan Ridgway has become his own wireless theater." THE FACE
"Stan Ridgway is equal parts Raymond Chandler and John Huston, Johnny Cash and Rod Serling." NME
"Filtered through his sardonically insightful wit, these stories become engaging not only for the details he includes, but the ones he chooses not to expose as well." THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Stan Ridgway tells stories from the underside of America. It's the dream gone sour; the dream that never even took root. Tales of losers who battle on and play the game their own way, with a glamour-less beauty and a bath of realism... slices of lives that knew the rules have been drawn up 'someplace else'; characters that have to bluff to get by." FOLLOW MUSIC AUSTRALIA
"Fast moving novellas full of dense musical imagery, peopled with characters from a human highway 61 revisited." THE FACE
"More noises from America's lost frontier. His songs tell stories that unfold gradually and trade in old fashioned narrative devices like character and suspense. It's a move at once conservative and daring - but, best of all, it works." ROLLING STONE
"Stan Ridgway is the Nathaniel West of rock." LA WEEKLY
"Ridgway has the talent to hold your attention by telling a tale in the same intense and clear way that rockers like Neil Young and Lou Reed do. A cool Californian commentator with a sense of humor to match his sense of history." Q MAGAZINE
"Ridgway's tales of the sad, soft underbelly of the American Dream are songs of hope petering into resignation, of idealism soured into cynicism; he's a very adult writer operating in an arena more usually home to the naive and infantile." THE INDEPENDENTS
"If David Lynch were a musician, he would be Stan Ridgway. Both look at Leave It To Beaver America and see serial killers lurking beneath its porches. Both can infuse a simple everyday object with weirdness and dread, creating a world that's consistently disturbing, fascinating and cool." L.A. WEEKLY
"Its possible that Ridgway's change of stance reflects a more serious attitude toward his music. Ridgway isn't just a wise guy anymore." L.A. TIMES