Peter Wolf – Midnight Souvenirs

No comments

This is one of those instances where the CD cover intrigued me.  I was never a big J. Geils Band fan, but “Centerfold” never seeks to, in my daughter’s lingo, make me smile.

My blood runs cold

My memory has just been sold

My angel is the centerfold

I mean, that’s funny!  I haven’t heard anything about Peter Wolf in forever, but I sampled Peter Wolf - Midnight Dreamsa couple tunes online and decided to get the CD.  It’s  fair to say that I have no regrets.

The CD, Midnight Souvenirs, is imprinted with a clock face.  This is fitting, as it sounds like Wolf’s inspirations occur between 10:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.  As the title also suggests, the CD is mostly about short term relationships - the attraction, the joining, and the inevitable morning after.  If this sounds like well covered material, there’s nothing “new” about this.  But decades into his career, Wolf is exceedingly good at working his experience into song, often with great humor.

The set begins with “Tragedy,” a great duet with Shelby Lynn about a relationship that outlasts its transgressions.  In “I Don’t Wanna Know,” Wolf finds pleasure in the now of a relationship, content with lies rather than battling the complications of truth.  “Watch Her Move” falls squarely within the J. Geils Band’s lyrical and musical penchant for party songs.  If this were 1981, you would be hearing it on the radio.  It’s got a groove.  (One would never guess Wolf is 64 years old).

The set slows to an acoustic tone and the voice of a wizened bachelor with “There’s Still Time,” an interesting change of pace following the previous song.  But despite his leanings towards hormonal thinking, this song and others reflect an adult assessment.  “Lying Low” follows with almost a JJ Cale sound, a rather low but mature look forward.  “The Green Fields of Summer” is a beautifully arranged duet, this time with Neko Case, who seems to be showing up everywhere in guest spots.  

That’s a more-than-solid six songs in a row.  Things falter a bit afterwards.  “Thick as Thieves” is a good song, but it’s a misfit in this lineup, sounding like a favored left over that was inserted just to have it heard.  “Always Asking For You” is similarly a good song, but another style changeup (country this time) begins to ask a lot of the listener, especially when the previous songs were a solidly splendid mix of R&B, soul and blues.  Similarly, “Everything I Do (Gonna Be Funky)” misfires, and the largely spoken word (but clever) “Overnight Lows” is enjoyable, but becomes tiresome on repeated listenings. The final three songs close strong, though, the last of which includes a winning duet with Merle Haggard, and who knew he was still around?

Overall, this is a very well produced and warm sounding CD.  For someone who hasn’t kept up with Wolf, I found it to be very well written and very enjoyable.  Does this mean I find his songs meaningful in some way?  No.  But, his fascination with women or resulting trials are still a kick.  It’s worth a listen, or 20.

Recommended Songs: “Tragedy,” “Watch Her Move,” “Lying Low”

Rating:   4 of 5 Stars

No comments :

Post a Comment