reviews for I'll Take Care Of You

EarPollution, October 1999

For those of you who have been following the path of Mark Lanegan's solo career, the progression of his latest release, I'll Take Care of You, should come as no surprise. The footsteps of his whiskey-soaked, dark and brooding voice carry him past the crossroads and closer to a sublime reckoning with his Maker. Nowhere is this more evident than on this album. Assembled here are a collection of songs by the likes of the Gun Club, Buck Owens, Booker T. Jones; all of whom have influenced and inspired Lanegan over the years. He pays his respects not just by re-recording these timeless gems, but by immersing his forlorn character in their stories, drinking in their essence so deeply that they re-emerge as if they were firsthand accounts of his own trials and tribulations. Backed as always by his brother-in-arms, Mike Johnson, as well as other members of the Seattle music fraternity, including Ben Sheppard, current Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and former Trees stickman Mark Pickerel, Lanegan is once again at home crafting his baleful voice around these long-standing favorites. From the sparse acoustic opener, Jeffrey Lee Pierce's "Carry Home," to the closing, gritty reverb-soaked shuffle of "Boogie Boogie," Lanegan skillfully displays his talent with I'll Take Care of You not only as a musician, but also as a masterful storyteller who continues the time-honored tradition of giving a part of himself--his essence--to each song his voice touches.

-Craig Young

first appeared in the Seattle Rocket, September 1999
album review (w/Chris Cornell's solo album review)

Mark Lanegan
I'll Take Care Of You

Chris Cornell
Euphoria Morning

by Andrew Strickman

Back around 1994 or '95 it became clear that what once was the Seattle "sound" was changing once again. The Screaming Trees' Dust was displaying a bit more of the dark, blues-rock that frontman Mark Lanegan was issuing on his solo albums, while Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell cut his hair and appeared on MTV singing about that darned 'Black Hole Sun'. Well two of the greatest rock voices to front bands are now releasing solo material and guess what? Change is once again afoot. For Lanegan, it's I'll Take Care Of You, an album of favorite covers that follows the three strong outings away from the Trees. For Cornell, it's Euphoria Morning, his first full-length foray since Soundgarden broke up in 1997. Two long time scene-leaders making music that on some level brings happiness to their black days.

But happiness doesn't particularly suit Lanegan's or Cornell's music; both records are dark, often somber visions of the lives we lead. For Lanegan, that perspective manifests itself in songs ranging from the beautifully melancholic "Carry Home", written by the late Gun Club frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce, to the litlting Buck Owens tune "Together Again". And with the sexy, bottle-in-hand spin he puts on '60's folkie Tim Rose's "Boogie Boogie", there's no question that Lanegan's tastes are not pigeonholed by any genre or era. Another great recording from a true talent.

For Cornell, of course, there's more at stake, particularly because his 'influences' were never that apparent on Soundgarden records - instead of being influenced, he was the trailblazer. Now, a few deep breaths later, he gets to spread his wings a bit and surprise us with some soulful, often acoustic rock. On "Flutter Girl", Cornell's music and lyrics are a spiritual sister to late-era Beatles, while the highly restrained track that follows it, "Preaching The End Of The World", is the song that Cornell might have written with his friend Jeff Buckley. "Wave Goodbye" is not only a farewell to Buckley, but a simple, soulful rumination on losing loved ones. "Mission" reminds us that Cornell still knows how to climb a wall of sound deftly, and on "When I'm Down" a boozy piano riff gives Cornell a terrific pulpit for a bit of post-modern blues.

In a way, these rockers from Seattle's most recent heyday are growing older - both musically and emotionally. They're surrounding themselves with their longtime friends behind the scenes (for Lanegan it's producer Martin Feveyear and a musician roster that includes Mike Johnson, Barrett Martin, Ben Shepherd, Mark Pickerel and Van Conner; Cornell has former Eleven members Natasha Shneider and Alain Johannes on board as producers and collaborators), and they're making music they want, with little deference to commercial taste. Don't be too surprised if the masses actually hear what Lanegan and Cornell have to say and respond in kind.

Wall Of Sound, September 1999

Mark Lanegan, the former whiskey- and charcoal-voiced lead singer for the gifted but productivity-impaired band the Screaming Trees, has carved out an interesting niche for himself as a solo artist. Where his gravelly growl propelled the Trees' material to near sublime hard rock heights, his solo material has been far more introverted and stripped down. Riveting works like The Winding Sheet and Whiskey for the Holy Ghost sound nothing like his boisterous band and everything like the artist he wants to be: blue, miserable, and gravely serious. On I'll Take Care of You, his fourth solo album comprised entirely of covers, Lanegan further explores the darker recesses of old-time blues and folk music, transforming several under-appreciated gems into the kind of songs that reflect the same depth of feeling. Accompanied by accomplished singer-guitarist Mike Johnson, drummer Barrett Martin (ex-Screaming Trees), and Soundgarden 's Ben Shepherd on bass, Lanegan turns songs like Buck Owens' "Little Sadie" into a sad, slow dance, Tim Hardin's wonderful "Shiloh Town" into a threatening strum, and overlooked folksinger Fred Neil's shimmering "Badi-Da" into a resonant lullaby. Throughout the album, Lanegan picks exquisite pieces to work out; only Booker T's "Consider Me," where the singer tries his hand at soul, oversteps his abilities. Yet in light of his artistic success lately, one can only wonder where Lanegan - the former rocker - is headed. - Bob Gulla

*note - the Buck Owens song is actually 'Together Again', not 'Little Sadie'

from the LA Times, September 1999

MARK LANEGAN, "I'll Take Care of YOU" Sub Pop. Taking a break from the depressive personal soul-searching of his three previous solo efforts, the Screaming Trees frontman gets bleak with material by his influences, including Buck Owens, gospel-R&B singer O.V. Wright and L.A.'s the Leaving Trains. With understated melancholy in his resonant purr, and accompaniment ranging from Mike Johnson's acoustic guitar to a full band, Lanegan infuses each selection with a bluesy sense of quiet desperation. Reviewed by, Natalie Nichols

from The Stranger, September 1999

MARK LANEGAN I'll Take Care of You (Sub Pop) ****
Mark Lanegan's voice is a thing unto itself, a certain cursed something spun of good substance then dragged like a dog through its own shit; a gorgeous, growling, tortured beast, drawn and quartered by the four components of a badass, pitch-black personal grief: longing, loss, hypocrisy, self-immolating abuse. The voice tells tales beyond, or despite, the spooky lyrics; the songs' sad stories are almost peripheral to what's really going on. It's the pure, majestic, battered, disembodied rumble and snarl of Lanegan's voice, the gravely refrain, the surrendered crescendo, the furious whisper, that haunts and chills and amazes. Lanegan's fourth solo album, I'll Take Care of You, is comprised entirely of other people's songs. The 11 covers—which range from the Gun Club's "Carry Me Home" to Buck Owens' "Together Again" to the traditional number "Little Sadie"—are well chosen and fitting, with each song stripped down lovingly to its barest arrangement. These skeletalized selections provide the perfect soundscape for Lanegan's beautiful, heartbroken baritone. The instrumentation, sometimes nothing more than a strummed six-string acoustic, is brilliantly restrained (esubheadly the subtle, intricate guitar work of Mark Hoyt), and the crisp production brings Lanegan's incredible vocals to the fore, without any detriment to the integrity or urgency of the material as a whole. These covers are performed with an obvious sense of reverence, even awe, and yet Lanegan manages at the same time to take complete possession of each one, by virtue of the maturity, balance, and emotional depth of his singing. Because of this, the album is surprisingly coherent. His previous solo efforts have much to recommend them; this one, though, has the feel of a classic. RICK LEVIN

from the NME September, 1999

Mark Lanegan, tobacco-chewing loose cannon frontman of Screaming Trees, is a bad man. Of that there is no doubt. This, his fourth solo album, finds him in cover version mode, but also digging deep into the dark night of the soul than any of his previous efforts. And for that, it's probably his finest, most tenderly-delivered work to date. Teaming up again with ex-Dinosaur Jr bassist Mike Johnson, the arrangements are stark and simple, leaving space for Lanegan's ever-maturing whiskey-soaked baritone to dominate these 11 hymns to lost loves and broken lives. On Brooke Benton's 'I'll Take Care Of You', Lanegan's a tortured barfly heartbreaker, slurring promises of a better tomorrow to the last broken heart that's crossed the doormat of his local. You can almost see the poor waif, suitcase in hand and mascara running down her face as a sozzled, sleazy Lanegan, glass in hand, promises: "I've loved and lost/The same as you/So you see I know just what you've been through". Take care, poor girl - you're entering a world of pain. Because even though his handsome cooings would charm the nuns out of the trees, Lanegan's in a dark place. But don't fret or write this off as a self-indulgent depression album, because the grimness is broken up by some great 'songs for lovers' moments, notably his take on Eddie Floyd's 'Consider Me' and Buck Owens' 'Together Again'. These two gems, coupled with the sleazy bluster of Tim Rose's 'Boogie Boogie' leave you doubtless of Lanegan's moral code, and in awe of the man's mastery of pathos and unquestionable spirit. It's his own stupid fault he's in trouble, but you suspect he's had a whale of a time getting into it. See you at the bar, Mark (8). Andy Capper. NME.

from MTV, September, 1999

MARK LANEGAN I'll Take Care of You (Sub Pop) When an artist chooses to make an entire album of cover songs, it usually indicates a serious hardening of the inspirational arteries. And though that may in fact be the case here, who really cares? After all, nobody's really paid any attention to this ex-Screaming Trees singer's solo career anyway, so why would anyone start now? Why would anyone care that after three increasingly gloomy solo albums that presented Lanegan's remarkable ability to write true Americana balladry he suddenly decided to cover a bunch of other peoples' songs? Why would anyone care that his gruff, emotive voice is now imparting its intensely morbid delivery to the works of other great American writers? Well, there's only one reason: because Mark Lanegan (despite being a party to the creative destruction of one of Seattle's best bands) is one of the most evocative singers around. Whether he's covering the Leaving Trains and Jeffrey Lee Pierce or O.V. Wright and Tim Hardin, Lanegan invests his smoky, emotional rasp deep into the hearts of each of the songs he covers here. And, whether it was a country song, an R&B song, a folk song or a vampy post-punk song, Mark Lanegan wraps them all up in his storytelling blanket and makes 'em sound as if he wrote 'em. After all, if anyone can make a song first sung by Falling James sound important, it's Mark Lanegan. With sparse instrumentation (usually just a guitar and understated drums, although some songs feature some graceful organ), the focus here is on Lanegan's voice and the songs he's singing. And, whether or not it was originally a morbid tale (the Gun Club's "Carry Home") or a relatively hopeful number ("Consider Me"), Lanegan pulls from each of them a consistent thread of longing and sadness. So, yes, I'll Take Care of You is an album of covers. But most importantly, it's a Mark Lanegan album and, as such, it's a dark, engaging, and intensely personal journey. So, no, the inspiration ain't gone yet and yes, you should care. — Jason Ferguson

from the CMJ new music report, September, 1999

I'll Take Care Of You - SUB POP
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 636 - Sep 20, 1999 Mark Lanegan has one of those voices. Kurt Cobain had one. So did Jim Morrison and Ian Curtis. But the Screaming Trees singer is a more versatile talent than those great snuffed hopes; his tormented and husky, yet somehow soothing growl suits both his band's raging psych rock and his three previous solo endeavors' harrowingly quiet, country-tinged material. The stark, largely acoustic I'll Take Care Of You proves that he's just as capable of mastering other people's music. The singer covers a perfectly chosen host of roots-punk, folk, blues and R&B songs, wears them like a pair of faded jeans, saturates them with smoke and booze, and lives in them, internalizing their celebrations and tragedies. Given the fates of the aforementioned, equally passionate performers, thank Jehovah that Lanegan and his desperate pipes are still alive and putting out records. -Jordan N. Mamone

from, September, 1999

Chris Cornell and Mark Lanegan, the co-valedictorians of the early-90s grunge class are releasing solo albums on the exact same day (coincidence or some evil post-grunge conspiracy to subjugate the masses with their angst ridden, distortion-heavy music--you decide). Cornell, in case you've been dwelling beneath a rock, once fronted the full-throttle rock monster Soundgarden with his glass-shattering voice. Lanegan was frontman for the Screaming Trees, another Seattle rock Godzilla, but his was a deep, sad baritone strong enough to make a forest wilt while simultaneously maintaining an underlying poignancy all its own. Euphoria Morning and I'll Take Care of You are like the battle of the baritones. The question is who'll emerge victorious? Well, strangely enough it's not much of a battle. In fact, the only thing Cornell and Lanegan are both battling (besides tears) is their own inertia with mellow and equally worthwhile albums. I'll Take Care of You is Lanegan's fourth solo effort, so he's got experience on his side and less to prove than Cornell. As if accepting some unspoken challenge, though, Lanegan goes out on a limb covering songs by a panoply of artists who influenced him and helped shape his career. It's a sweet, heartfelt tribute, but when you're dealing with Lanegan and that unmistakable, utterly haunting voice that lingers like bittersweet chocolate, it's like their original songs. With his I-nearly-lost-you death experience, Lanegan is capable of bringing your mood down to gutter levels with his plaintive, Tom-Waits-in-hand-to-hand-combat-with-Nick-Cave singing style. He's no longer Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees fame; he exists unto himself. Picture your strong, silent father on his darkest, most desperate day, emoting and pouring his heart out to you. That's how I'll Take Care of You will make you feel. Lanegan drones deliciously on the Gun Club's "Carry Home," and adds a smoky-smooth, velvety touch on Brook Benton's "I'll Take Care of You" as well as on Buck Owens's "Together Again"--creating altogether different renditions of these rather ambitious, diverse, and time-honored classics. Musically, it's a somewhat scaled back and lo-fi affair that helps to accentuate the melancholic, tear-in-your-beer quality that both Lanegan and his guitar use to gently weep and creep their way into your heart. Grrrls everywhere fawned over Chris Cornell and his blue-eyed Jesus Christ pose long before thousands of female fans were traumatized by him chopping off his gorgeous black locks. But it was always Cornell's piercing voice that was truly captivating and was universally fetishsized. Cornell can sing like a fuckin' siren; that's not in dispute. The real question is can he be a presence with out the louder than love Soundgarden behind him? Oft-beleaguered STP frontman Scott Weiland could carry a tune magnificently, but proved he could not rock without the support of the DeLeo brothers. On his maiden solo voyage Euphoria Morning, fans may have to do some readjusting. In terms of loudness, intensity, and "rock'n'roll" quotient--this album is at about five (whereas Soundgarden were usually an 11). But on the mellow scale that we're now measuring on, Cornell is and remains an 11 with that golden larynx clearly in tact. The opening song "Can't Change Me" would seem a whimpering start, but it's just one style that Cornell experiments with. It's also later in the decade now and mid-tempo modern rock is top dog, so don't be surprised if this song is soon charting and making airwaves. "When I'm Down" is an almost lounge-y tune, flavored with old time R&B tones. It's ambitious and completely stunning. "Mission" is the closest thing to a Badmotorfinger- style tune with its sludgy riffs. "Steel Rain" finishes off the album, and is an acoustically-driven ballad that will wrap around you like a fleece blanket on a bitter night. Cornell's warm voice fills the room on every moment of Euphoria Morning. It's exciting to see the softer side of a former-grunge icon through soul bearing efforts and laid back sounds. All in all though, this album will do little to allay your SG reunion jones, but, it nicely fills the gap until that time. So while there's no clear victor in the battle of these talented baritones, it is comforting to note that the legacy of grunge has something much more valuable to offer us than ripped jeans and flannel shirts. Here at least there's a prevailing honestly, musicality, and introspection that transcends the fashion and formulae that so many of yesterday and today's rockers so egregiously flaunt. Amy Sciarretto (

from the Seattle Weekly, September 1999

MARK LANEGAN I'll Take Care Of You (Sub Pop)
On his fourth solo outing, Mark Lanegan departs from his previous introspective musings to deliver an eclectic collection of other artists' songs, spanning rock, folk, country, soul, and gospel. Cover albums are risky ventures, but the Screaming Trees singer envelops these tunes with his powerful baritone and such subtle devotion that he makes them his own. He and longtime collaborator Mike Johnson reinvent the Gun Club's inflamed "Carry Home" with spare acoustic consideration. Lanegan's languid styling intermingles with fellow Screaming Tree Barrett Martin's vibes to transform the Leaving Trains' "Creeping Coastline of Lights." Exposing his folkie side, Lanegan and Huge Spacebird's Mark Hoyt express their urban weariness on Fred Neil's "Ba De Da." Lanegan gets his mojo working with a pair of sentimental soul classics: the Brook Benton - penned "I'll Take Care of You," and Eddie Floyd's swooner "Consider Me." The motif of the narrator trying to find a home ties the album together, whether in prison (the classic bluegrass number "Little Sadie"), in the eternal hereafter ("On Jesus' Program"), or in the arms of a lover ("Together Again"). When he sings on "Carry Home," "I have returned/through so many highways and so many tears," you sense I'll Take Care of You is indeed a homecoming for Lanegan.
--Barbara Arnett

from Sonicnet, October 1999

Lanegan Covers Angst
Even covering others' songs, he has a gift for articulating madness and pain.
By David Feningsohn

Unlike his friend and fellow Seattle icon, Kurt Cobain, Lanegan has survived his demons — he has struggled with drugs and tried to keep his ever-volatile band, the Screaming Trees, intact. And along the way, he's produced three solo albums of dark blues as stark and quiet as the Screaming Trees are furious. On his new solo LP, I'll Take Care of You, Lanegan allows himself what other great singer/songwriters, from Lennon to Dylan, have indulged in — an album of covers. Such albums are hit and miss — at best, they can be innovative interpretations that reveal an artist's roots; at worst, just an easy way to fulfill a contractual obligation. Lanegan's comes up a winner, if not always due to his choice of material, then because of his remarkable baritone vocals. The songs here are fairly obscure — among them are an old country tune from Buck Owens, a track from '60s folk singer Fred Neil and one from the Gun Club, who might have counted Lanegan as their biggest fan. Lanegan makes each number his own, inhabiting the body of the song with the sheer power of his voice. The album's opening number, the Gun Club's "Carry Home", is vintage Lanegan — his weathered vocals are perfectly suited for such lines as "Love never survives the heat of my heart/ My violent heart, full of dark." The folk ballad "Little Sadie" casts Lanegan as a remorseful killer seeking redemption by singing his tale. Like Nick Cave, Lanegan has a gift for articulating madness and pain. For the title track, Lanegan becomes a world-weary lounge singer, croaking out Brook Benton's song over vibes, courtesy of Screaming Trees percussionist Barrett Martin. "Consider Me," the Eddie Floyd soul chestnut, gives Lanegan a chance to work up a head of steam singing the blues. But it's not until the final track, "Boogie Boogie" (RealAudio excerpt), that Lanegan really begins to howl, dueting with Mike Johnson's searing guitar. Clocking in at fewer than 35 minutes, the record is nevertheless an impressive display of Lanegan's talent. And as dark as his interpretations may be, it is encouraging to see him battling his demons rather than succumbing to them.

from The Phoenix New Times, October 21 - 27, 1999

Cover me: Former grunge king Mark Lanegan mellows on cuts by Buck Owens, Tim Hardin, and the Gun Club.
Mark Lanegan I'll Take Care of You (Sub Pop)
There are some kinds of music that really work only at certain times of day or during specific activities. You've got good driving music, good drinking music, good dishwashing music. Mark Lanegan's records are of the late-night, half-tanked, down-and-miserable, stare-out-the-trailer-at-the-stars variety. As singer for MIA grungers Screaming Trees, Lanegan naturally provides more power than finesse. But while it may be easy to say the grunge king has mellowed with age or rehab, Lanegan's first record in this manic-depressive style, The Winding Sheet, was released in 1991, the year before grunge became pop. Lanegan is an artist who appreciates tradition and songwriting and knows a little about interpreting others' material. His take on Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," which appeared on Sheet and which Nirvana later covered for Unplugged, was surprisingly wrenching. While Lanegan's solo work will probably not garner the attention the Screaming Trees' stuff has, it's still great that the grunge legacy is more than the Singles soundtrack, goatees and bad attitudes. Lanegan is joined on his latest, I'll Take Care of You, by Mike Johnson (Dinosaur Jr.), Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden) and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), among others. This time, though, Lanegan wrote none of the songs. The mood of yearning comes courtesy of Jeffrey Lee Pierce (Gun Club), Eddie Floyd/Booker T. Jones, Tim Hardin and Buck Owens and others. Yet the tone isn't much happier than any of Lanegan's other records. The song "On Jesus' Program" may be a spiritual, but when Lanegan gets ahold of it and stuffs it full of reverbed-out guitars, brushed drums and his world-weary voice, it's a plea for life. Not afterlife. And his take on "Little Sadie," a traditional ballad, is plaintive and matter-of-fact, befitting the guy-kills-girl, guy-gets-caught, guy-goes-to-jail lyrics. With nothing more than Mark Hoyt on acoustic and Johnson on electric guitar, Lanegan's honey-smoked vocals are up-front and honest, like he's telling a story that sounds better when sung. The songs he chooses are similar. They're tales to be shared, confessionals or anecdotes, and the simplicity of the arrangements enhances their narrative effects. Because of Lanegan's delivery, the line between singer and song is blurred. Factor in that Lanegan has had his own troubles (namely heroin) and it becomes a "Tales From the Edge" kind of record. This has been the Lanegan m.o. on all of his solo material, and there isn't much (other than the all-cover-song format) to distinguish I'll Take Care of You from his previous work. Yeah, he's got one of the best male voices in rock 'n' roll today and has a great touch, but it's just that he's not covering any new territory. Maybe it was too challenging to cover 11 songs, but Lanegan co-opts them into his style so easily, the original authors hardly matter. And late at night, with enough liquor, it can fit the mood just right. -- David Simutis

From Flagpole Magazine Online, 11/99

I'll Take Care of You
Sub Pop
Sure, on paper this looks like some sort of bizarre joke - mopey, grungy former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan records a collection of soul and folk covers without so much as a hint of an ironic smirk on his pasty white kisser - but stop making that face, bub. This shit is good. Lanegan's always had some Stax bubbling up through his SST, and on I'll Take Care of You he lets it all hang out. He pleads with his woman on Booker T. and the MG's "Consider Me," turns over some late night musings on The Gun Club's "Creeping Coastline of Lights," and calls out for something beyond booty-shakin' when he howls "Everybody boogie now!" on Tim Rose's "Boogie, Boogie." Former Dinosaur Jr. bassist Mike Johnson heads the solid backing band on guitar, playing alongside former Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd and sometime R.E.M. counterpart/drummer Barrett Martin (also of the Screaming Trees) among others. Together, this collection of Seattle's whitest, white guys somehow pulls off songs from The Leaving Trains, Buck Owens and Overton Vertis Wright without a hitch or a hint that they're merely tourists snooping through their favorite bands' back catalogues. I'll Take Care of You comes off not as some sort of off-hand retro pastiche like the disposable western waltz bridge in Kid Rock's "Cowboy," that little French thing in Jordan Knight's ode to doin' it "I Wanna Give It To You," or the sampling of amateur vinylophiles like England's Scott4, but as an honest and respectful immersion into the mystery and mythos of songcraft itself. Lanegan shows, through his digestion and re-interpretation of folk, blues, R&B and even some straight-on rock and roll, that recorded music can allow listeners to feel for places and times they could never hope to experience outside of placing a needle on a record. And that - if we're to believe the beauty of I'll Take Care of You - may be enough to understand. (1932 1st Avenue, Ste 1103, Seattle WA 98101)
Travis Nichols

from Well-Rounded

Mark Lanegan
I'll Take Care Of You

In the dark and dreary world of Mark Lanegan, there is occasionally reason to smile. To those not paying much attention, (which is most of the free world), the four solo albums from the sometime Screaming Trees frontman have all been forbiddingly overbearing -- the sound of someone who doesn't much like himself -- or anyone else for that matter -- tracking his bloodiest ghosts across spare, desperate songs. But closer, labored examination reveals that slowly but surely, Lanegan is letting light into his shadowy existence.

His fourth solo album, I'll Take Of You, is made up entirely of obscure covers, but Lanegan, who at his most down-hearted can make Leonard Cohen sound like a motivational speaker, tackles this batch of blues, soul, folk and country rarities with vigor and something approaching enthusiasm.

His first two solo excursions, The Winding Sheet and Whiskey For the Holy Ghost, sounded like self-lacerating deathbed confessions, and if you were in the mood to hear a tortured soul lashed into submission, no one did it better. On last year's Scraps At Midnight, Lanegan began crawling out of his deep, dark hole, but it's long climb towards the sunshine.

I'll Take Care Of You is the sound of his surfacing. Instead of coming on like a guy hanging off the edge of a tall building by his fingernails (which by many accounts is not an inaccurate description of his life over the past decade), Lanegan manages to inject joy and hope into songs like Tim Hardin's "Shiloh Town" and The Leaving Trains' "Creeping Coastline Of Lights." A few of his other choices are telling: on the title track, a slithering old Brook Benton tune, as well as the pining soul stirrer, "Consider Me," for the first time in a while, Lanegan is offering himself up not as a whipping post, but as an eligible bachelor, and as he wraps his gruff, smoke-stained voice around these tunes, he sounds convincing.

The arrangements here are considerably brighter and a little more fleshed out than his previous solo material, with a cast that includes fellow Trees' Van Conner and Barrett Martin, Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, Ben Shepherd (ex-Soundgarden), Mark Pickerel (ex-Screaming Trees), and Lanegan's frequent partner-in-crime, Mike Johnson (ex-Dinosaur Jr.), adding organs, horns, woodwinds, and a host of percussion, to Lanegan's dusty interpretations.

The upbeat turn is, of course, relative, and none of these songs are likely to get Lanegan confused with Elton John, but he's got to feel better knowing that he can sound just as compelling singing about life as he can singing about death.
David Peisner

from OC Weekly, November 1999

Mark Lanegan I’ll Take Care of You Sub Pop Women of the world, Mark Lanegan has only one request: please. Please. Consider me. The gravelly-voiced singer best known for his work with Seattle’s Screaming Trees reveals an unexpectedly tender side on his new album, a quirky collection of covers ranging from Bobby "Blue" Bland to country legend Buck Owens. Lanegan as a soulful crooner? You bet—and it’s not as surprising as it might seem. On previous albums—like last year’s Scraps at Midnight—Lanegan let his unearthly baritone (weathered by God knows what) delve into dark-hued songs that touched on his battle with heroin, personal losses and fleeting love. Yet this time, Lanegan wants all the ladies in the house to know he’s their man. From the warm, ghostly vibes on the title track to the undulating reverb on "Creeping Coastline of Lights," Lanegan infuses a gentleness into the tunes that’s powerful and often touching. Perhaps his only misstep is "Boogie Boogie," a testament to why singers like Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Lanegan should never utter certain words (like "boogie" . . . eeewww). While he never abandons the country-flavored feel long familiar to his tenacious cult following, it’s nice to see Lanegan check out the slinky side. He may never reach the sexual frenzy of Barry White, but maybe that’s a good thing.
(Mark Smith)


Review By: Albert Torres
November 12, 1999

For his past three solo albums Mark Lanegan has been consistently labeled as the schizophrenic front man from the Screaming Trees who bounds between identities like some sort of alternative rock Superman. Unlike his work with the Trees, Lanegan's solo material tends towards somber introspection with sparse instrumentation that borders on the hypnotic. By now however, with the Screaming Trees last effort almost four years behind us, and Lanegan on his fourth similarly etched solo recording, it is safe to say that the tendencies he's been exhibiting are more the true Lanegan than any other incarnation that this murky voiced baritone might embody now or in the future.

I'll Take Care of You is Lanegan's tribute to the art form of song writing. The album, comprised entirely of cover songs, still retains that Lanegan mark which summons the deepest brooding moments that any living soul can harbor without caving in on itself. It all has to do with his smoke drenched delivery and unwavering patience in unraveling even the most soulful of songs. Lanegan takes some unexpected turns exploring the roots of modern American music with nods to Bobby "Blue" Bland, the original interpreter of the title track, and a show stopping rendition of the world famous Stax Records recording artist Eddie Floyd's "Consider Me." Lanegan never strays too far from his trademark melancholy, which not only stamps each cover with a potent yet moody mark, but also stretches the boundaries surrounding the original intention of each song, leaving the listener with the subtle musing: Sure, these aren't his compositions, but when the music rises, they are played the way only Mark Lanegan can, and no one else comes close.

from The LA Weekly

Review By: Don Waller
October, 1999

New Trad, Dad

You've got to love -- or at least respect -- any album where songs written by the late Gun Club leader Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Leaving Trains front person Falling James bump uglies with compositions by country legend Buck Owens, gospel/soul cult hero O.V. Wright and noted folk-blues recluse Fred Neil. And when you find someone who not only can actually sing all this material but also pulls these diverse strands together into a singular piece of work, you've got to put your hands together, ladiesandgentlemen, and give it up for Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, who wraps his sonorous, weather-beaten baritone around all this and more on I'll Take Care of You. Forget hipster saint Tony Bennett's endless pieties about doing "another selection from the Great American Songbook" (which is just a euphemism for Tin Pan Alley), the 11 tunes that make up Lanegan's fourth solo album come ripped 'n' torn from the pages of the real Great American Songbook -- the one written by rednecks, bluegums and white punks on dope.
For the record, it must be noted that this flipped disc is cut from the same stark, brooding cloth as Lanegan's previous solo efforts: 1990's The Winding Sheet, highlighted by the cover of Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (a.k.a. "In the Pines") that inspired the version heard on Nirvana's Unplugged in New York; 1994's Whiskey for the Holy Ghost; and 1998's Scraps at Midnight. However -- thanks to the songcraft of the previously un-name-checked Tim Hardin, Eddie Floyd & Booker T. Jones, and somebody called "Trad." -- it generally features a higher grade of material. And if this knockout combination of marvelously minimalistic backing tracks and Lanegan's cavernous voice makes you think this all sounds something like an American (read: less pretentious) version of Nick Cave, you'd be about thisclose to being right. The big difference is that there's no way in heaven or God's green hell that some Australian public schoolboy (or too many other pork-chop-eatin', Bible-readin', jes' plain folks) can come within even kissin' distance of Lanegan's renditions of the aforementioned O.V. Wright's absolutely wracked "On Jesus' Program," Tim Rose's dark, bluesy, begging-to-be-sampled "Boogie Boogie" or Bobby "Blue" Bland's titanic take on the Brook Benton­penned title track.
Now, let's hear you try singing along. On second thought, let's not.