After finding it in the bargain bins of the [local store], it was interesting to see that it's only available on Amazon as a high-priced import. It also looks like a lot of her stuff is tough to get, and that's a shame. I first became aware of Michelle Shocked by getting 1988's "Short Sharp Shocked" on LP, which I still own. I was happy to see she had a hit video with "On the Greener Side" a few years later, but for some reason I never kept up with her career. Which is strange because I played "Short..." over and over and over again. So I snapped this one up as soon as I saw it to see what else she's been doing.
I've pretty much stopped doing "Best of.." albums for Amazon, as they are a no-win situation. I could trash the work, like I did with Styx, and all that happens there is that tons of fans trash you by finding the review "Not Helpful". Or I could praise the album, like I'm tempted to with Dire Straits, but am I going to say anything that a fan doesn't already know?
This, on the other hand, is worth writing about, mostly because most people have never heard of her, and her stuff is tough to get. This album contains three songs from "Short..." ("Anchorage", "If Love Was a Train", "When I Grow Up", plus "On the Greener Side", which is all I'd ever heard. For those that only have this, I would highly recommend "Short.." as it has several more great tunes.
Where the "Short..." Songs were mostly folky stuff, and they're great, I was delighted to find a wide variety of styles here, which makes me want to check out the availability of more of her works. "On the Greener Side" is a great uptempo pop number. "Quality of Mercy" is a nice smokey blues number. "Street Corner Ambassador" is very jazzy. I'd put "Too Little too Late" in the Patsy Cline category. "Over the Waterfall" has an Irish accompanyment, and "Holy Spirit" is a flat-out spiritual. The rest can go into the folky category, and that's OK. I can do without some of the wailing on "Stillborn", but as a guy, I'm not supposed to identify with such things.
Right now I'd have to say this is the most enjoyable album I've listened to all year, and will definately seek out more "product" from the lady.