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I Had A New York Girlfriend

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Beggars Banquet
  • ASIN: B00002482L
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

An album of cover versions seemed a strange move for Robert Forster. The Go-Betweens, his previous band, never went in for cover versions much, and given that they wrote better songs themselves than just about anyone, there was no real reason why they should. The songs chosen for treatment on I Had A New York Girlfriend seem to have little in common bar the fact that Forster has some sort of affection for them. As such, some are not surprising--Bob Dylan ("Tell Me That It Isn't True") and Guy Clark ("Broken Hearted People") are both writers whose literate intelligence has obvious echoes in Forster's own material. Others, like Grant Hart's "2541" and Martha & The Muffins' "Echo Beach" are more curious--The Go-Betweens were never noted for their resemblance to Hüsker Dü, and so crass an idea as a one-hit novelty act like the Muffins would seem anathema to them. That said, Forster manages to invest all these songs with his characteristic deadpan charm, keeping one eyebrow arched just enough at all times to keep the rest of us guessing as to his motives. --Andrew Mueller

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Format: Audio CD
This collection of Americana with a few odd ones out was recorded in Melbourne, using members of Nick Cave's band, and sounds as drifty, smoky and Australian as anything Robert Forster has done. The album title comes from a Modern Lovers song; there's no Jonathan Richman here, but there's the suggestion of a narrative - a kind of American love story that begins with fire and angst and ends in the barroom, drinking beer.

The album opener, Nature's Way, comes from Spirit's Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus - something of a surprise in itself, since Forster had never revealed any leaning towards freakiness up till that point. Echo Beach is another unpredictable choice; he sounds winsomely out of it throughout, while a lonesome fiddle gets busy around him.

There is something nuggety about Forster's song selection in general. A much-neglected Dylan song from the much-neglected Nashville Skyline album, Tell Me That It Isn't True, dovetails extraordinarily with the Husker Du song 2541 - which does, funnily enough, sound a lot more like the Go-Betweens than anything else on the record. One further nugget comes in the shape of a Neil Diamond pop song, a little flash of sunlight from the same stable as I'm A Believer. One song that wasn't a nugget in the original, a beautiful acoustic number called Locked Away from a Keith Richard's solo record, becomes one under the Forster treatment.

The band sound big and billowy and spontaneous. The only reservation I have about this album is the way it gets all quiet and sombre towards the end, fading away in a way that may be intended but which is still a pity. It is hard to imagine Robert Forster crying into his beer - that is the problem. He is too sardonic for that type of song to stick for him. But the slight tailing off doesn't diminish by much one of the best things Forster has done.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
thank you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96bcd438) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96a0f1e0) out of 5 stars Forster's excellent all covers CD 12 Jun. 2000
By jeff stacy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Robert Forster and Grant McLennon were the brains behind one of the 80's best bands, Australia's the Go-Betweens. The band split up in 1990 with both artists starting solo careers. Forster was having writer's block in 1993 when he decided to record an all covers album for his 3rd solo release. It consists entirely of non-original, mostly obscure, songs that Forster interprets in his own melancholy style. He is, along with Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, one of the great out-of-tune vocalists in rock. This is much in evidence on the opening song, Spirit's 'Nature's Way'. The production is airy, yet forceful, and Forster's vocal reflects the concern of the lyric, conservation of natural resources. Elsewhere, there is a strong country music influence in choice of cover material, including cuts by Guy Clarke, Mickey Newbury, Bill Anderson and Bob Dylan (from Nashville Skyline). All of these interpretations remind the listener of what was great about country music, the humor and the heartbreak. Dylan's 'Tell Me That It Isn't True' is my favorite cut with Forster respectfully mimicking Dylan's vocal. Keith Richard's 'Locked Away' is hilarious. Grant Hart's '2541' is exceptional. This is a CD that all Go-Betweens/Robert Forster fans will want in their collection.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96bfb2b8) out of 5 stars A Great Writer Knows Great Songs 26 Oct. 2003
By Randall E. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I passed up this release until I had bought virtually everything else related to the Go-Bees on the assumption that it would be a novelty.
Well, gee, I should have remembered that Robert Forster would be a good judge of songs (although I personally can't stomach the sappy "Frisco Depot" conveniently placed at the end of the CD). In fact he's performed the great service of turning me on to Grant Hart. For the most part these very well-chosen songs are given the homely Robert Forster treatment with the result that they simply become his own. There is a definite country element but no more so than on either "Danger in the Past" or "Calling From a Country Phone." If the association of familiar people sways your decisions, be aware that Mick Harvey plays on seven tracks here (thankfully without his heavy-handed production).
In sum, I think this is a great album and a perfect solution to the momentary writer's block afflicting Robert. I strongly recommend this release to anybody who has bought all of the other releases and bypassed this one like I did for the same erroneous assumption.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96a0db88) out of 5 stars Works for me... 23 Feb. 2006
By Travis Dubya McGee Bickle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
...though Robert Christgau, "the Dean of Rock Critics" and a resolute GBs fan, dissed it by calling it a "covers record that runs out of material", a pithy diss, but not quite fair or accurate. RF attains real traction on this set and displays his typical immaculate and discerning taste in his choice of covers..my faves out of the batch are his cover of Keith Richard's "Locked Away" and Dylan's "Tell Me That It Isn't True"....
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96e22ac8) out of 5 stars tasteful covers album 6 Nov. 2012
By Donald E. Gilliland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Although not a gifted vocalist, Robert Forster is a gifted performer, one who has shown a knack --- through his solo albums and recordings with the Go-Betweens --- for recording emotionally powerful tunes with hooks galore. This is an album of all cover tunes but they are well chosen and very well done. Some tasty --- and very eclectic --- picks on here, perhaps not tunes you would expect. When I saw that he covering songs such as Spirit's "Nature's Way," the old Martha & the Muffins tune "Echo Beach", Guy Clark's tender "Broken Hearted People" and Grant Hart's incredible "2541" ... well, it was no-brainer. I just HAD to get this CD and listen to it. Go Betweens fans should take a chance on this one. It's full of great tunes, and maybe it will inspire you to see out some of the original versions.
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