October 10, 2004
Just This Side of Wimpy
I've always had a soft spot for what I call "White Wimp" music -- soft, melodic, harmony-laden music that comes more from a folk tradition than the usual blues. I was shopping at a Trader Joe's the other day and one of my favorite white wimp classics of all time, Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat" came on. The song is irresistibly catchy. I love that Stewart's English accent creeps out (unlike most Brits, who try to pull off a black American bluesman's inflections). And the sheer lack of rock bravado is refreshing -- you get the impression that Al Stewart could not beat anyone in a fair fight. But Al doesn't care.
The Go-Betweens, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, could each probably whomp Stewart. But they wouldn't want to. These two Aussies, alternating between solo careers and duo projects, have
Wimpy? A little. Beautiful? Yup.