This is one of Lee's 'talking' albums - each track is introduced by a cool 1-2 minute segment with Lee telling a story over some strummed chords, rather like he does on 'Trouble is a Lonesome Town'. The stories are without exception very funny and entertaining, and this ends up being a very engaging album. All the songs are sparsely instrumented guitar (often it sounds like a 12 string), a light bass and vocals. None of the brilliant lushly orchestrated and sonically startling stuff which I love him for. Yet this is still just as addictive. I don't know what Lee has exactly, but I want some of it...
'First Street Blues' is about Leroy, a friendly dragon who gave up eating people because he found something he liked more - wine. The songs don't always correspond to the spoken intros - 'I had a friend' is introduced with a funny story about Tarzan and Jane, but the song is a jaunty but rather chilling number about the mob killing someone for his beliefs - 'he read some books we didn't appreciate, so we shot Bill this morning. You missed the crowd, all filled with hate/we burned his house last night at 8/ain't you sorry that you're late/we shot Bill this morning.'
One of the most memorable tracks is 'Go die big city', which is about Tinker Mason, who hates cities ('you just name any city, and Tinker'd hate it for you. If he even got around somebody that even about liked a city, he'd throw a rock at them'). To try and heal Tinker, they send him to Barton Freud ('he wasn't a psychiatrist, but he was a chiropractor who did some heavy thinking'). The lyrics have a beautiful twist, which I won't spoil for you here.
Pretty much every track is memorable - from 'I ain't gonna be', (about Rodney Farms - 'he just left, and she ain't seen him since'), to 'I might break even' (which chronicles the mishaps which befall one unlucky chap who wanted to be a millionaire before he was 40).
Strangely, this was not one of the CDs in the reissue series on 'smells like records'. But if you're a fan of Lee as a personality, and enjoy 'trouble is a lonesome town', it's well worth seeking out.