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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10,000 Maniacs at their best
I will freely admit to being a huge fan of Natalie Merchant and the work she did with 10,000 Maniacs. However that respect for the artist had to begin somewhere and about a decade and a half ago it started when my older brother, knowing I worshipped R.E.M. (and with a mind to Micael Stipe's short cameo on A Campfire Song), loaned me a vinyl copy of In My Tribe to listen...
Published on 20 Jan 2007 by Phil H

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4 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Instantly forgettable
By many people, this has been hailed their finest work. If it were a painting, it would be a masterpiece. To me it's just another bowl of fruit on canvas. I've come across many in my time and there's nothing special here that would make me listen to this again. This album was recommended to me having moderately rated Natalie Merchant's solo albums, Tigerlily being the...
Published on 13 May 2001


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10,000 Maniacs at their best, 20 Jan 2007
By 
This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
I will freely admit to being a huge fan of Natalie Merchant and the work she did with 10,000 Maniacs. However that respect for the artist had to begin somewhere and about a decade and a half ago it started when my older brother, knowing I worshipped R.E.M. (and with a mind to Micael Stipe's short cameo on A Campfire Song), loaned me a vinyl copy of In My Tribe to listen to and I fell in love.

Starting with the triple-whammy of "What's the Matter Here" (the song that turned the aforementioned older brother onto this album), "Hey, Jack Kerouac", and "Like the Weather" the album quickly establishes itself as a pop-rock masterclass. Its never going to be a favourite of political right wingers or people that resent a good lecture about the iniquities of society but the album is served well by these three definitive Maniac moments and the witty, wordy, and pleasant-despite-the-negatives world it presents. Its strange hearing the 20-ish year old Natalie Merchant's voice compared to the throatier and more mature singer of recent years but even at this stage her voice was gorgeous.

"The Painted Desert" is (in my often humble opinion) the most under-rated song in Merchant's catalogue. A painfully honest open letter from a woman to the man she thought would be waiting for her to join him after he left for a trip, Merchant does a great job of making sure that everyone but the author of the letter understands what is really going on. This leads into "Don't Talk", another iconic Maniac song in the "social conscience" vein established throughout the album with a driving rhythm carrying it forward excellently.

Its safe to say that the majority of the album is top-notch, a couple of tracks are merely good but still of better quality than many songs out there, but the final track on In My Tribe is simply a revelation.

Titled "Verdi Cries" it is a tale of sand-drawings, stolen pastry, loud classical music and quiet pianos. While the late Robert Buck's guitar work and Dennis Drew's keyboard skills are essential to the 10,000 Maniac sound "Verdi Cries" highlights that even as early as 1987 it was Merchant's show. This song is a one piano, one voice, small string section masterpiece and stands as, to my mind, the most perfect song ever written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tribe well worth joining, 31 Mar 2008
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
In My Tribe is the second major label release for US band 10,000 Maniacs. If ever a band were inappropriately monikered it was 10,000 Maniacs. Conjuring images, for me at least , of slavering riff heavy doom merchants -rather than Natalie Merchant - the bands polite brand of folky rock had shown promise on 1985 album "The Wishing Chair" but it was this 1987 album that the bands emollient mature music reached it,s zenith.
Since the release of "The Wishing Chair" Natalie Merchant the bands distinctive vocalist had lost usual song-writing partner John Lombardo who had quit the band in 1986 so she consequently shared the song-writing duties with the band particularly Robert Buck who also contributes, guitar , mandolin and pedal steel .Maybe the more varied input from the other band members helped the song writing process because with the exception of "My Sister Rose"-which is one of those occasions were the groups penchant for queasy world music influences is given full reign - In My Tribe is a consistent hugely enjoyable album.
Merchant,s friendship with Michael Stipe meant he was more than happy to provide vocals for "The Campfire Song". One of the great things about this album , as is indeed the case with most great albums, is that despite being a folk / rock band there is true diversity in the music. "Verdi Cries" features a lovely stately string arrangement courtesy of David Campbell and a gossamer sensitive vocal by Natalie Merchant. "Like The Weather " is almost a nursery rhyme but thankfully steers clear of twee. "City Of Angels" twinkles appropriately with mandolin and shimmering guitar while "Don,t Talk" is a tense compelling tale of a relationship breakdown.
Lyrically too the songs are not the derisory la di da pastoral fare you might expect. Superb album opener "What's The Matter Here?"deals with child abuse while "City Of Angels" decry,s the seedy underbelly of LA where the band recorded the album . Their cover of Cat Stevens "Peace Train" speaks for itself -though the band withdrew it from the US CD version when Stevens, now of course known as Yusuf Islam , supported the Fatwa on Salman Rushdie.
The follow up album "Blind Mans Zoo" released in 1989 is amiable enough but lacks the melodic punch of "In My Tribe" and the band eventually split up with Natalie pursuing a solo career . The feeling remains for me that 10,000 Maniacs did,nt quite fulfil their potential but solace can be taken with this album -easily the best of their output- a truly memorable collection of chamber folk/rock/pop songs. While this is playing in their tribe is great place to b
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ' A Thin Slice Of Heaven ', 27 Mar 2003
This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
The summer of 1988 was one of the greatest times of my life. I was working in a Summer Camp in the United States, learning about life and visiting places I had always dreamed of.
It was a fellow camp counsellor, who I shared accomodation with, that played 'In My Tribe' one evening, and it altered the way I percieved music. Being a '80s teenager brought up on a diet of New Wave and New Romantics, listening to this album showed me that music could be more than style over substance.
From it's opening bar of the first track 'What's the matter here?' to 'Verdi cries' the album elevates you heart, cleansess your mind and touches your soul like no other I have experienced.
Since that glorious day, it has often puzzled me that it still remains an underworld masterpiece, and it is this lack of recognition of one of the true 'Classic Albums' of the eighties or any decade that had led me to this article.
I urge anyone to become a member of 'The Tribe', I am and always will be.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their finest hour..., 22 Dec 2001
By 
Mr. A. D. Lukowski (Bristol, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
'In My Tribe' is an absolute masterpiece. It's the folkiest of the 10,000 Maniacs' works, which is great, as this effectively means that we're offered a pretty twanging, tinkling backdrop, over which Natalie Merchant's voice is free to swoop about like an impressive bird in an uncluttered sky. Or something.
Anyway, out of all their albums and Natalie's own solo stuff, her voice is never clearer, and her vocal melodies never so effective as 'In My Tribe'. From the meloncholic pop of 'About The Weather' to the elegant rage of songs about child abuse ('What's the matter here?'), alcoholism ('Don't Talk') and the military ('Gun Shy'), it's a gorgeous, powerful album that only flags on the somewhat inadvised 'My Sister Rose'.
As it's so-stripped down it's probably not quite as accessible as the poppy 'Blind Man's Zoo', but ultimately 'In My Tribe' is the greatest thing Natalie Merchant or the 10,000 Maniacs ever did. It's great, and if you're interested enough to read a review of it then you won't regret buying it.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionate, beautiful, important music, 30 Jan 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
This really is an amazingly good album, filled with depth and passion and shaped by one of music's most distinct, compelling voices (Natalie Merchant). I actually bought this album long ago, before I had even heard any 10,000 Maniacs music. The name of the group had a certain appeal to me, and there is something about the cover and its enticing shade of purple that drew me to it. Of course, what matters here is really the music, and I think this album reveals the very heart and soul of Natalie Merchant and the Maniacs. Not yet superstars, all of the musicians poured copious amounts of passion into each and every song, making this music both incredibly enchanting to the ears and compelling to the heart and mind. Merchant's unique voice is a beacon of soul-seeking enlightenment examining themes most artists (as well as most people) often shy away from. For example, What's the Matter Here? focuses on child abuse, Don't Talk addresses a struggling alcoholic, and Gun Shy is a plaintive lament for a world in which soldiers are needed. Cherry Tree, my favorite, is a song about the personal shame illiteracy can engender in a person, and it expresses such passion and joy in the prospect of learning that it could well serve as the de facto theme song for any adult literacy program. Verdi Cries is, quite simply, hauntingly beautiful. It is unfortunate (yet understandable) that the group's cover of Cat Stevens' Peace Train was removed from later releases of the album because I quite enjoy it-it's certainly much better than the original.
About the Weather is really the only song I remember ever getting playing time on the radio, but there are at least half a dozen songs on here that I find even more enjoyable. R.E.M. fans might be interested to know that Michael Stipe lends his voice (albeit rather briefly) to A Campfire Song. I can't get very excited about My Sister Rose, but every other song on the album is simply fabulous. Merchant's devotion to the music is beyond question, considering the fact that she essentially collapsed from exhaustion during the tour that followed this impeccable album's release. It's almost impossible to get tired of any of these songs, no matter how many times you listen to them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs, 2 Jun 2014
By 
Bald Kiwi (Luton, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
I think I was originally put off by the name of the band - 10,000 Maniacs suggested a punk influence which I didn't want. However, I have now discovered Natalie Merchant, quickly recognised how wrong I'd been and I love the soft melodic material. If you haven't already discovered Natalie and her band for yourself, but love folk and soft rock, then have a listen.

When I tried to rip the album to my iTunes database, sadly, my PC refused to recognise the disc. Happily though, it was also included in the Original Album series - and that one ripped perfectly!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Masterpiece, 1 Feb 2011
This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
Bought my first copy of In My Tribe 22 years ago and it sounds just as fresh, unique and ahead of it's time today. I'll join in the chorus that one rarely finds an album where every track is pure joy. This should be one of the greatest musical achievements of contemporary music. On a scale of one to five stars, this album with it's fine singing by Natalie Merchant and polished backing easily rates a six.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete.., 7 Nov 2010
By 
I. P. J. Brayshaw "Big Fish" (Seville, Spain.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
One of those rare albums that truly deserves the label 'Classic'. By that I mean every song here is excellent. When describing an album of true significance my eloquence often deserts me - I'm much better with the negative stuff ! However, Natalie Merchant's beautiful voice is given here it's best material. Perfect arrangements, beautiful melodies and spellbinding story-telling. 'What's the matter here?', 'Hey jack kerouac', 'A campfire song','The painted dessert',''Like the weather' and the wonderfully poignant 'Verdi cries' make this album a true treasure. Buy, blag, beg, burn, steal or borrow.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exquisite, 15 Sep 2004
By 
simon barrett "blond omnivore" (Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
the best maniacs/merchant album, strong, lyrical and anecdotal by turns; vocals frequently inaudible, but this works to the advantage of some of the more preposterous lyrics (on corporal punishment or illiteracy, would you believe) which are best dimly apprehended through the gorgeous SOUND; superb production, the regulation twangy bits and nathalie's subtle vocal inflections make this the only maniacs/merchant album you need (for let's face it, they are samey, wouldn't you say?)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In My Tribe, 1 Dec 2011
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This review is from: In My Tribe (Audio CD)
This and 'Blind Man's Zoo' are the Maniacs' finest. Natalie Merchant was always better in the confines of this band.
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In My Tribe by 10,000 Maniacs (Audio CD - 1987)
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