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Sno Angel Like You [VINYL]

Howe Gelb Vinyl
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Biography

The Arizona desert has been a predominant theme and source of inspiration for Howe Gelb, indie rock pioneer and founder of the band Giant Sand. Since 1985, Gelb, based in Tucson, AZ has brought the spirit of the southwest and high art to his DIY recordings. Gelb's newest recording, The Coincidentalist, is his first album for his new label, New West Records. Recorded with M. Ward and Steve ... Read more in Amazon's Howe Gelb Store

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Product details

  • Vinyl (27 Mar 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B000E6GCLG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,410,707 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A career highlight for the Giant Sand man 14 Feb 2006
Format:Audio CD
Following albums from Arizona Amp & Alternator and Giant Sand, this is Gelb’s third long-player in as many years, but the first self-titled effort since 2003’s The Listener.
The last Giant Sand album was called All Over The Map, a reference to Gelb’s continuing desire to envelop as many genres as possible. It’s therefore no surprise that once again, Gelb attempts to broaden his sonic horizons; here, not only do we have the Gelb trademarks of snare-driven percussion work, wandering acoustic melodies, droll lyrics and endearingly alien electric guitar, but in addition, Gelb has enlisted the help of Canadian gospel choir, Voices Of Praise. This might be titled as a solo album, but long-time fans will know that Gelb rarely works in isolation (his previous collaborators include Neko Case, John Parish, Vic Chesnutt and Grandaddy) and Voices of Praise deserve just as much credit for this album’s success for bringing, as they do, a celestial finesse to seven brand new songs, plus four Giant Sand favourites and three tracks originally by Rainer Ptacek.
But I Did Not gives the first indication of how perfect a marriage this is; the mucky rock that is Gelb’s modus operandi is given a glorious, otherworldly lift by the gospel harmonies, while the disconcerting rock n’ roll sway of The Farm is raised to the heavens by the Voices of Praise. Later, Love Knows (No Borders) offers hushed loveliness before exploding in burst of reverb, and Nail In The Sky begins with some spare acoustic picking before building to an astounding crescendo.
While they almost steal the show, Voices of Praise aren’t the only collaborators on ‘Sno Angel Like You.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gospel According to Howe Gelb 16 April 2006
Format:Audio CD
Gelb is an interesting fellow. If you heard him, you know generally what to expect in terms spare arrangements and the Leonard Cohen-meets-Morricone tone of his pieces.

Personally, his solo work before never moved me like Giant Sand in the early nineties. Yet the guy deserves to be listened to so I did, and I bought the abums too. More out of loyalty than confidence.

This album may just be the one that convinces me. To the usual Howe fare a chorus joins him, and they make the whole difference. Gelb voice never sounded so right-on like it does here enveloped in his own brand of gospel music.

Not quite "Core Of Enchantment," it may just offer enough heavens to convert you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sno Accounting for Taste 17 July 2010
By Stalker VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
At times it hits you "I'm listening to a combination of country and gospel singing. Am I crazy!" The answer is yes you probably are and it's a CD you are unlikely to play to anyone else unless drunk. But at times this bizarre concoction is genuinely affecting and it will always get the occasional play by me in the car, particularly if there's snow on the ground or around Christmas. Not Howe Gelb at his best but another curious and original CD.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "May you make out with a buck more than you'll ever need" 18 April 2006
By Robert Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I would not argue that this is the best album of 2006 so far, but it is definitely the one that so far has given me the most joy. I wasn't, in fact, certain I wanted to get it. I have been a big fan of Giant Sand for some time, but I have not been as moved by Howe Gelb's solo work as I have been by his work fronting Giant Sand. It turns out, however, that I like this more than any Giant Sand album, and that is saying quite a bit.

This is a deeply spiritual album despite not being at all religious. Spiritual and moral themes riddle the songs and it seems entirely appropriate that his minimal rock band is backed throughout by a gospel choir, the Voices of Praise. The resulting sound isn't at all what one might expect. In this instance when an alternative rock musician meets a gospel choir, the choir conforms to the needs of his sound more than he does to the limitations of a choir. As a result, this album doesn't really sound like anything else I've ever heard. It is more that the choir helps bring out the latent spiritual themes of Gelb's music than anything else, with a new musical hybrid ensuing. Gospel punk? Take "Worried Spirit" from near the end of the disc. The individual elements might sound incongruous--heavily distorted guitar, a strong beat provided by drums with heavy use of tom toms, some use of piano, Gelb's Lou Reed-like voice, gospel choir cutting in to sing: "Oh my worried spirits/Oh my troubled mind." But every element fits perfectly with all the others.

The old Mississippi Delta blues singers were very conscious of performing devil's music. There was no hope, no salvation, only damnation and despair. In this way, at least, 'SNO ANGEL LIKE YOU is a gospel album, since it is full of hope and affirmation of life. There is concern about having made the right moral choices, but no guilt over having failed. No song illustrates this better than "But I Did Not," where Gelb sings in each line about what he might have done and the others answer back "But I did not" while the choir sings gently in the background:

Would I be awakened where the wrong side renders? (But I did not.)
Would I be dangling towards demise? (But I did not.)
Forgetting about the innocent splendors? (But I did not.)
And rage blinding my eyes? (But I did not.)

But Gelb's attitude isn't moral exulting, but more the sense that he barely escaped. When he sings "Felt like burning down the home" and "Felt like me a gun" there is a sense not of moral superiority but of relief, as if he had barely dodged the bullet. This is all made clear in the final verse where he turns everything around:

People just smiling at the sun shining (But I did not.)
Seeing the dark clouds, silver lining (But I did not.)

He finally sings "Sacrifice sometimes is just timing," and ends with the realization that he just got lucky, apparently meeting someone (a woman?) who helped make a difference. It is a glorious song and one of the highpoints of the disc.

I can't recommend this disc highly enough and my fear is that this is one of those special little masterpieces that will get ignored by fans and under promoted by the record company. I've rarely seen such an unexpectedly marvelous collaboration as that between Gelb, his fellow musicians (including Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara), and Voices of Praise. I hope this doesn't end up being the most underrated disc of the year.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gospel According to Gelb 1 April 2006
By Juan Mobili - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Gelb is an interesting fellow. If you heard him, you know generally what to expect in of terms spare arrangements and the Leonard Cohen-meets-Morricone tone of his pieces.

Personally, his solo work before never moved me like Giant Sand in the early nineties. Yet the guy deserves to be listened to so I did, and I bought the abums too. More out of loyalty than confidence.

This album may just be the one that convinces me. To the usual Howe fare a chorus joins him, and they make the whole difference. Gelb voice never sounded so right-on like it does here enveloped in his own brand of gospel music.

Not quite "Core Of Enchantment," it may just offer enough heavens to convert you.
4.0 out of 5 stars Desert Rock with a Baptist Choir 20 April 2014
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Lots of fun and up lifting, gets you going. Very well recorded. You can tell all involved had a blast. Minimal instrumentation, focus is the groove and choir. First listen through caught me off guard was expecting something totally different but each additional time I listened it grew and grew. A great album, lots of fun, great guitar that works perfectly to create the funky groove. Reminded me as if Ry Cooder should have been involved somewhere and yes there was a great slide guitar going.
5.0 out of 5 stars Howe Gelb plus gospel singers 12 Dec 2012
By David R Jefferis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Brilliant album. Some of Howe Gelb's solo stuff can be abit off the mark but this album is excellant. The back up gospel singers is a nice touch. This album is up there with Giant Sands 'Chore of Enchantment". Highly recommended
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Howe is Cool! 16 Nov 2008
By Eddie Wannabee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Until recently, maybe a year or so, I was buying a lot of CD's and one of them was 'Sno Angel Like You. Like most good artists it took several times listening to it before I started appreciating Howe Gelb. He is Cool with a capital C and his songwriting and arrangements are top notch. Sorry if I sound a little vague in my review but I have to insist he is pretty good. A solid 4 Stars and definitely a keeper and proud of it! On a side note: A whole era of buying CD's has ended for me. Now, in Itunes, I purchase by the song. Is that good or bad? Does it take away from the artist creative statement? Don't know, can't say that I care, for this way I get to listen to many many different genres and performers. So instead of buying, let's say, 7 or 8 CD's for about $100 now I purchase 100 songs. Boy, I sound like I just discovered America! And what a great country this is, got to love it and I do! From Frank Zappa to Howe Gelb and all in between this country has more music lovers per square mile than any other nation! Howe, keep up the good work and now that I think about it I feel like lighting up a "fatty" and listening loud to 'Sno Angel Like You might be the right thing to do. 4 Stars!
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