December 19, 2009

Various Artists - Closed on Account of Rabies: Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe (1997)

Tribute albums are always difficult to pull off as the listener is bound to take into account how each covered track sounds in its original version. What is particularly difficult about albums such as Closed on Account of Rabies - where there is no such thing as an original track but rather multiple individual perceptions of how a text should be read - is that the covers compete with imaginary - and therefore perfect - originals. How Edgar Allan Poe would have read his short stories and poems is anyone's guess; all we really have to go by are the narrative tics that permeate his writing.

Closed on Account of Rabies, then, is phenomenal success, combining magnificent spoken word performances by an array of famous artists with superb sound production. The vast majority of the renditions here maximize Poe's eccentricities and induce creepiness with no problem whatsoever. If you're a Poe fan, you will love Christopher Walken's reading of "The Raven", which is second to none (by the way, I am not a huge fan of Vincent Price's reading). You will also find that Iggy Pop's rendition of "A Tell-Tale Heart" is perfectly chilling and Jeff Buckley's "Ulalume" is mesmerizing. My favorite track of the album , though, is Gabriel Byrne's take on "The Masque of the Read Death" which springs to life behind Byrne's accent and the background noises. If you like what you hear here, you might also want to check out Lou Reed's version of "The Fall of the House of Usher", which is very similar in sensibility and has amazing production values.

>>> Download Closed on Account of Rabies

1 comment:

  1. Agree with you on Gabriel Byrne's rendition of TMOTRD. He's a cracking storyteller!