Friday, February 25, 2011

T-Bone Burnett Trap Door 1982 and The DoDeans Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams 1986

I said some not nice things a while back about T-Bone Burnett's recent work producing Elton John and Leon Russell. But it hasn't always been that way.

Burnett got famous with the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, although he had much fine production work prior to that with Los Lobos, Elvis Costello, Bruce Cockburn, Marshall Crenshaw, Roy Orbison, and Sam Phillips.

And the first BoDeans album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams in 1986. The roots rock sound they birthed in Wisconsin was matched perfectly to Burnett's sympathetic production, and a classic was born. Kurt Neumann and Sammy Llanas wrote great songs, the band is hot, and the production is perfect. Llanas' voice is something you either love or hate, but you can only know thatfrom hearing it. Anyway, fine work from T-Bone Burnett in the producer's chair.

T-Bone's very own Trap Door 1982 is a perfect pop record. A six-song EP, I Wish You Could Have Seen Her Dance got the airplay, but Hold On Tight, Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend, and Trap Door are all killer.

Songs, singing, arrangements, band, recording, everything is just right. It doesn't sound like anything else he ever did, which is very good news. His other solo records were eighties New Wave, or twitchy experimentation, or challengingly aggressive, or avant-garde, or country. All over the map, sometimes on the same record.

This one is just a pop-rock gem. Two guitars, bass and drums done to perfection with toe-tapping rhythms, excellent lyrics, great hooks. It's simple and perfect (and meaty) like a great steak.


  1. You're right on target with T-Bone's Trap Door EP.

    His arrangement on Diamonds if fantastic, (emmylou liked it enough to appropriate it hook, line and chorus the following year on her White Shoes lp) and Hold On Tight is quite simply rock and roll perfection.

    I've never been a big T-Bone fan before or after this release, but so what? Two songs added to one's eternal playlist constitutes a major find.

    I very much appreciate your stuff....

    your friend
    Jeff McKee
    Richmond, Virginia

  2. Thanks for the nice comment. I'm always glad to see that someone is checkin' my blog out.