Title - 'Twenty Twenty - The Essential T Bone Burnett'
Artist - T Bone Burnett
Not only has Van Morrison still not gotten the Nobel Prize, but T-Bone's Proof Through the Night and Trap Door albums aren't out on CD. Until that second faux pas is rectified, however, here's an eclectic look into his varied repertoire. It's a comment on T-Bone's prolific songwriting skill to note that most of my favorite songs didn't make the forty song cut. Disc one starts off with "Humans from Earth" from the Wim Wender film Until the End of the World, which also appears on Criminal Under My Own Hat. "Born in Captivity" and "East of East" come from the second Alpha Band album, Spark in the Dark, with "The Dogs" from the band's first self-titled disc. "Monkey Dance", "Euromad" and "Image" come from The Talking Animals. Songs from Truth Decay include "Hall of Mirrors" "Power of Love", "Boomerang" and "Drivin' Wheel". "River of Love" is best known in the version done by T-Bone's wife, song writer Sam Phillips on The Turning, her last album as Leslie Phillips. Trap Door was only a six song E.P. ("extended play" record) but it nevertheless contained some of T-Bone's best songs. A different album called Behind the Trap Door was released by Nick Lowe on his Demon Records label in Britain. From Trap Door here is T-Bone's talking blues take on "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," the title song "Trap Door" and "I Wish You Could Have Seen Her Dance". From Proof Through the Night come "Shut it Tight" (originally the last song on the record), "Hula Hoop", "The Murder Weapon", "When the Night Falls" (covered in concert by John Hiatt) and "Hefner and Disney." What's missing? Two of my favorite T-Bone songs from Proof: "Stunned" and "The '60s". From Trap Door: "Poetry" and "Hold on Tight." The three Alpha Band albums are out as an import set, and fans will still want them as there's nothing in this collection at all from the third and best Alpha Band album, Statue Makers of Hollywood, not even "Rich Man" or "Back in My Baby's Arms". From The Talking Animals: Where's "The Wild Truth", drawn from a quote by G.K. Chesterton, or "The Strange Case of Frank Cash," a talking blues story with Tonio-K, sort of like Dylan's "Brownsville Girl" with Sam Sheppard on Knocked Out Loaded? Clearly, there are many musical gems buried and many bones yet to be unearthed. In the liner notes T-Bone says he's been wandering in the desert for 40 years, but it seems the other way 'round. This collection is far more accessible than his new album, The True False Identity. He seems to have followed the lead of Sam Phillips who makes both accessible albums ("The Incredible Wow") and very avant garde ones (Omnipop). T-Bone can be arty and convoluted, but he can also make some very catchy roots music, and in concert he connects instantly with the audience. Most of his songs are far above standard radio pop and strong enough to be covered by other artists. At any rate, this album and not his new one, serves as the best introduction to the enigmatic and unique artist known as T-Bone Burnett.