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Gary Lucas: Street of Lost Brothers

Rockers sometimes engage in an insidious habit commonly referred to as the “B-side.” This entails the tossing together of experiments gone wrong, substandard takes or songs that weren’t good enough to make the cut and releasing them as a brand new recording. Guitarist Gary Lucas’ Street of Lost Brothers-one of Tzadik’s Radical Jewish Culture series-may not technically be a B-side, but sure sounds like one.

It really seems as though Lucas, a player with plenty of rock, pop and experimental music history, slapped together whatever material he had on hand and hoped that it might add up to something. It doesn’t. The recording bounces awkwardly between rootsy solo guitar fingerpicking, bar band rock and humorless novelty. The acoustic guitar stuff is the best of the lot. In the liners, Lucas makes a big deal about how he used no overdubs on any of those tunes, and though he sometimes displays an impressive technique, the music is mostly just pretty.

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