Tuesday, September 09, 2008

ILL-USTRATED SONGS #14 VALERIE - Marshall Crenshaw

The Ill Folks blog anthem could well be Marshall Crenshaw's "You're My Favorite Waste of Time," so let's perversely choose "Valerie" instead. One of many "off" artists (a contemporary of Jonathan Richman and Greg Kihn), M.C. never exactly became a chart success with his odd punk and rockabilly mixes.

No doubt the labels who kept pushing oddballs like Loudon Wainwright, Nick Lowe or Randy Newman knew they'd eventually get at least a fluke novelty hit, but Crenshaw? His labels kept trying but none of his quirky numbers ever nicked the Top 20, did they?

Crenshaw's put out many an album, and each has some truly catchy tracks.
OK, maybe he never ran over a skunk, laughed about a dead actress being nibbled by her dog, or cracked a verse about short people...but he did sing this Buddy un-Holy ode to "Valerie," who might be short, might be capable of eating human flesh, and might smell to high heaven, too.


Holly A Hughes said...

Marshall Crenshaw is a neglected gem! One of my other favorites of his is "Fantastic Planet of love."

Anonymous said...

"Fantastic Planet" should have been a hit. "You're My Favorite Waste of Time" is on the Razor and Tie CD "The 9 Volt Years" -- hearing that one, that could be another song to get people into Marshall.

Hazy Dave said...

This song is a Richard Thompson cover, right? Marshall's version is superior, IMHO. To me, Thompson's reality (as a solo artist) has never lived up to his press. I saw Marshall play a little room in the UWM Union back in the 80's, with just his brother Bob on drums, and Graham Maby on bass. Excellent show. More than just a studio act, he truly delivered the goods, live, in a trio format.

Ill Folks said...

Hiya Dave, you're right, Richard Thompson wrote "Valerie." Marshall does such a great job he really made it "his."

Marshall DID write the other great songs most fans really admire: "You're My Favorite Waste of Time," "You Should've Been There" (co-write) and "Fantastic Planet."

Hazy Dave said...

To say nothing of "Someday, Someway" and "Cynical Girl", to name just the first two that come to mind...

pixelmutt said...

Saw Marshall a couple of months ago, playing solo in a dump called the Stanhope House in jersey, hiding his lack of hair under a snazzy fedora & really annoyed at having to play for 25 people.

He pulled it together, did a great show, played his ass off on some big hollow body electric and I even detected a smile near the end.

He's one of the best.

Anonymous said...

25 people. How much did he make? How far did he travel?

Guess he can't stay at home and cash a royalty check.

Did he pay an agent fee to get a bad gig like that? He probably smiled that it was over.

Maybe things will get better. The more free downloads the more people will hear of him and go to a show.