All White People Look Alike
Brian Woodbury's All White People Look Alike is a CD re-release of an LP originally issued in 1987. The CD: The title track is a 20-minute long musical manifesto on race, conformity and (pre-internet) mass culture. It opens cinematically in a cotton field and travels through a series of feels and styles (an African hoedown, an acapella choral tongue-twister, a Fred Frith-like metrical breakdown) each transforming seamlessly into the next. It culminates at a stand-up comedy club in a diatribe on 'skin colored' Band-Aids, the origin of Valley Girls, the supposed twenty-seven Eskimo words for snow ('snow, snow, snow, snow') and 'why when you move and go to a new elementary school, all the kids look the same at first.' Along the way, Woodbury, backed up two female singers and a highly percussive score of drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, saxophones and violin, makes reference to Stevie Wonder, Gil Scott-Heron & Steve Reich's 'Come Out.' The CD continues with songs that evolved from a theater piece, 'Harangue.' The theme seems to be the inadequacy of economics as an explanation for human endeavor. It features a fake opera recitative ('I can tell the time of day'); poly-metric rap ('I'm Just the Kind of Guy That I Like'); the haunting/ridiculous aria 'The Birds Don't Owe' ('The bell can't owe it's ding-dong'); Schumann-esque choral music ('Our Sin'); exquisite industrial noise ('The Work Ethic') and show biz Gospel ('Who Says?'). History of the LP: Released in November 1987, the title cut and 'I'm Just the Kind of Guy' received extensive airplay on college stations in 1988-1990, making several best-of lists. Jane's Addiction: The title cut curiously ended up (uncredited) on the 4th side of a Jane's Addiction bootleg double LP, 'The Mephisto Demos.' There was an unsubstatiated and quite preposterous rumor that this was the song that got Jane's Addiction signed to Warner Brothers, on the label's mistaken impression that Jane's Addiction sounded like They Might Be Giants. This is wrong on so many levels that it doesn't merit further discussion. The appearance on the LP spread the notariety of the song, but not the artist. However, many diligent listeners managed to track Mr. Woodbury down and it is because of their constant requests that this re-issue has happened. Note: The original 'Harangue' side contained 'My Favorite Things,' a duet ('mash-up') of John Coltrane & Julie Andrews. The rights to the original recordings were unobtainable, so, alas, it is not included on the CD. 'Timely re-issue of Woodbury's classic 1987 song rant, previously released in a small scarce vinyl edition. There are song blocks, ranting blocks, interesting arrangement blocks - all adding up to an impressive and quite unique 20 minute wind up. Don't drink coffee before putting this on. Followed by Harrangue - a cycle of 11 songs of varying lengths (0.54 - 3.18) and each following completely different genre rules, until you don't know what sort of a record you're on any more. And funny. When it wants to be.' ReR catalog.
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