It's always nice to see some musical stylings revived. Obviously there are some like Disco that are better left dead and dormant, but there are others which have been long overdue in making a comeback. Well following in the footsteps of the original Jewish Urban Cowboy, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys, straight from the wilds of Toronto comes, singing of the joys of a good shivtz, Rick Moranis.
Best known for his contributions to exporting Canadian culture abroad via his collaboration with Dave Thomas in the creation of the Mackenzie brothers. Those plainspoken chaps served as major cultural diplomats for Canada during the 1970s. We were taking our first tentative steps onto the world stage and they blazed a trail that will never be lived down or forgotten.
Like all good prophets Mr Moranis spent some years in the wilderness searching for inspiration: ten years in New York City raising his kids and listening to their music. It was revealed to him that the time was ripe for someone to strap on the spurs and mosey on down to the eight track to record and try to match the glory of The Kinky's "Asshole From El Passo"
The results of his labours can now be heard in glorious stereo in the thirteen tracks contained in his first testimonial The Agoraphobic Cowboy. Before anyone dismisses this project as a putdown or an attack on country music, let me be quick to reassure you. Mr. Moranis' love of this genre couldn't be more obvious. He may be using it for satire, but he's not making fun of the medium.
Making fun of himself for having the presumption to make a Country and Western album maybe; making fun of city dwellers, fame and paranoia: definitely. But if you have any doubts about his genuine affection for the music, they'll be dispelled when you hear the quality of the musicianship demonstrated on this recording. I don't know if I've heard finer picking and strumming since listening to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. These guys are hot.
I was hooked form the opening song; a plaintive cry for fulfillment in life, "Nine More Gallons". Who couldn't identify with the forlorn appeal of: "It's hard to pull an empty load/Even if you're stuck/Seventeen more wheels/ And I'll have me a truck" Or the awareness of self that slips through with: "Fifty one more cards,/And I'll be playing with a full deck."
The songs continue on in this slightly self-deprecating vain throughout the whole disc. Setting himself up as a sort of universal every man who sings about the foibles of the world, he is able to capture and laugh at the oddities of contemporary urban living.