12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The story is a good one. Beal is said to have recorded this album on a karaoke machine with a $20 microphone while working nights as a hotel porter; he then promoted himself with hand-drawn fliers that included his home address and phone number. Whether the story checks out, the music here is primitive and evokes the sounds of Daniel Johnston, The Moldy Peaches, and lesser-known "outsider artists." Yet the songs are surprisingly conventional once one attunes to the barebones sound. Beal's voice is pleasant, and his lyrics paint pictures in unusual cadences. "Sambo Joe from the Rainbow" takes Bill Callahan's downbeat approach and adds a touch of sunshine. "Ghost Robot" turns in a primitive rap song that makes Beck's lowest-fi recordings sound polished. "Swing on Low" goes even further into automated sound. "Away My Silent Lover" comes across world-weary, with "Take Me Away" turning to blues via Tom Waits. This clearly isn't for everyone, but for those who enjoy the unusual and a challenge, Willis Earl Beal is an enigma worth figuring out. 

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The story is a good one. Beal is said to have recorded this album on a karaoke machine with a $20 microphone while working nights as a hotel porter; he then promoted himself with hand-drawn fliers that included his home address and phone number. Whether the story checks out, the music here is primitive and evokes the sounds of Daniel Johnston, The Moldy Peaches, and lesser-known "outsider artists." Yet the songs are surprisingly conventional once one attunes to the barebones sound. Beal's voice is pleasant, and his lyrics paint pictures in unusual cadences. "Sambo Joe from the Rainbow" takes Bill Callahan's downbeat approach and adds a touch of sunshine. "Ghost Robot" turns in a primitive rap song that makes Beck's lowest-fi recordings sound polished. "Swing on Low" goes even further into automated sound. "Away My Silent Lover" comes across world-weary, with "Take Me Away" turning to blues via Tom Waits. This clearly isn't for everyone, but for those who enjoy the unusual and a challenge, Willis Earl Beal is an enigma worth figuring out. 

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

3.9 out of 5
29 Ratings

29 Ratings

spikebirdz ,

Take me away blows me away

This group of songs is beyond eclectic, but if you go through the tunes you will find some true gems. Take me away has a groove that will not quit and is reminiscient of Delta Blues and Tom Waits at the same time... Away My Silent Lover is a gorgeous ballad showcasing Willis' voice and a deft touch with lyrics...take a listen and decide what's good for you...the variety of styles is enough to offer something for everyone...

adray14 ,

see him live

aklthough not the best quality, still good songs. he's fantastic in concert, go see him if you can

The Last Song ,

Raw (is the digital booklet WEB's book?)

I've streamed this album in full three times now. The first time I was really hesitant as to what to think about it-- the album's pretty diverse about its different styles, but holds a soulful mood throughout. It was not the easiest listen to the first time, but after three whole listens, I've fallen in love. The album is just packed with soul. Jam packed. But before I purchase this on iTunes, does anyone know if the Digital Booklet contains the book Willis Earl Beal wrote that comes with the regular CD?

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