Daniel Johnston – Hi, How Are You? CS
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His fifth full-length album, released originally in 1983, Yip/Jump Music remains one of Daniel Johnston’s most beloved albums. Much is made of Kurt Cobain’s love for the record, and whenever you come across any promotional text, there’s always some mention made of the Nirvana songwriter having named Yip/Jump music as his thirty-fifth favourite album of all time (similarly, you can’t mention Hi, How Are You without acknowledgment of Cobain’s T-shirt at the 1992 MTV Awards). The quality of Johnston’s songwriting manages to cut through any such marketing hyperbole, just as it does the technical restrictions that meant the album was committed roughly to tape using unconventional instrumentation like a chord organ and the occasional ukulele. None of that matters because Johnston’s lyrics and melodies are on top form, and the likes of ‘Speeding Motorcycle’, ‘Casper The Friendly Ghost’ and the wonderful, genuinely moving closing track ‘I Remember Painfully’ remain highlights of Johnston’s discography. This may or may not be the thirty-fifth greatest album of all time, but certainly, it’s eminently worthy of a place in anyone’s record collection.
Hi, How Are You provides classics from the Johnston catalogue like ‘Walking The Cow’ and ‘Hey Joe’ while Continued Story yields slightly more hi-fi treats like ‘Casper’, the nervy new-wave of ‘It’s Over’ and the ramshackle rock & roll of ‘Ain’t No Woman Gonna Make A George Jones Outta Me’. Much as with the Yip/Jump Music reissue, these recordings come from a time in Johnston’s career when his creativity seemed to be at its freest, sounding relatively unburdened; there’s as much joy here as there is heartbreak.
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