reviews for I'll Take Care Of You
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.
first appeared in the Seattle Rocket, September 1999
album review (w/Chris Cornell's solo album review)
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
CD REVIEW REVUE
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
from Spin.com, 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
from the Seattle Weekly, September 1999
MARK LANEGAN I'll Take Care Of You (Sub Pop)
Lanegan Covers Angst
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
me: Former grunge king
Mark Lanegan mellows on cuts by Buck Owens, Tim Hardin, and the Gun Club.
From Flagpole Magazine Online, 11/99
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.
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.
Review By: Albert Torres
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
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.