New Rufus Wainwright offerings

November 2, 2006

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For those of you who don’t keep up with Rufus’s little musical releases in between the albums, here are some new offerings you might want to know about.

Just for the record, “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk [Reprise]” was issued on the soundtrack for THE LAST KISS. Unless there is something you are dying to have on the soundtrack, buy Rufus’s masterwork, POSES instead. And if you are a soundtrack fan, be sure to pick up the soundtrack to BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN if only for “The Maker Makes.” I think his cover (and lame harmonies) of Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” is terrible, so if you are downloading the Rufus stuff, pass on that one and get Roger’s original peformance.

Since they will be touring this December, THE MCGARRIGLE CHRISTMAS HOUR was released last year and will likely have much of the material they do this year. Rufus contributes a gorgeous performance of “Some Children See Him” that is worth the price of the CD. (I still haven’t bought tickets to their LA show, but that’s me.) And if it’s more Xmas music you seek and they happen to make it available at Starbucks, Rufus sings his “Spotlight on Christmas” on Elton John’s compilation from last year, CHRISTMAS PARTY.

A peculiar offering can be found on ROGUE’S GALLERY, the brain-child of Johnny Depp featuring pirate songs and a star crossed, er studded array of artists. Bono’s contribution sounds like a stoned remake of David Crosby’s “If I could only remember my name.” Rufus and his mother, Kate McGarrigle, sing “Lowlands Away.” I don’t know what was behind their decision, but the song seems to be just out of Rufus’s range, and I’m not sure why they didn’t transpose it down a step or two. The performance sounds as though it was made in the middle of the night, or after a joint as the energy seems a bit sleepy. Still, an interesting performance for us Rufus fans.

In October, the Pet Shop Boys released a live album called CONCRETE. On it, Rufus Wainwright covers their famous “Casanova in Hell,” an inspired performance and a song that fits him well.

PLAGUE SONGS will be released next week in the US (11/7/2006) with a hip list of artists: Scott Walker, Rufus Wainright, Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Stephin Merritt (Magnetic Fields), Laurie Anderson and Imogen Heap. Rufus records one of his sleepy cowboy songs he’s been singing live for the past couple of years, “Katonah,” which features his sister, Lucy Roche, on backup vocals.

We anticipate his new album, rumored for release in 2007.

And for my European friends who don’t know, tickets are available today for performances of his Judy Garland show in London and Paris. Rufus fan club members can buy their tix today before they go on sale tomorrow, so go to his website for details.

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