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The Lemonheads
It's A Shame About Ray (Collectors Edition)
Rhino Records
www.thelemonheads.net


Sometimes when a record is released it is immediately considered to be a classic, but sometimes it really needs to sit on a shelf for a decade before coming back out and reminding you just how good it really is. Such is the case with The Lemonheads' It's A Shame About Ray, recently re-released by Rhino Records as a CD/DVD release featuring previously unreleased album outtakes and demo material, as well as music videos and live performances.

When It's A Shame About Ray was released way back in 1992 there was little attention paid to the brilliant pop album put together by this amazing little band. Even with the addition of Juliana Hatfield from Blake Babies to the band's lineup, there was not much hoopla surrounding the original release. The album's true break came when the band re-recorded Paul Simon's "Mrs. Robinson" and the album was re-issued with the additional track. AAA radio caught wind of the brilliant cover and began to play the hell out of the track. Album sales soared and the cutout bins were avoided, even though thousands of copies of the CD are due to be traded in on this fine Collector's Edition.

The original album is here in its entirety, including the great 90's rock track "Rockin Stroll" that leads off the album. This song is a brash statement on the state of rock in 1992, including some fine fuzzy leads and throbbing rhythm lines; the sound is pure early '90s. The title track is still one of the finest songs to ever come out of Washington state, with its non-descript story about memories and friendships. This track has some of the hookiest pop traits in memory, including jangly guitars and solid drum tracks, and should have been given its due long before the Paul Simon remake. The album's other fine buried tracks are here, including the rushy, organ infused "My Drug Buddy", the gritty throwdown of "Alison's Starting To Happen" and, of course, the fine remake of "Mrs. Robinson," which continues to be one of the cleanest mainstream covers of all time. Included on the CD are a number of previously unreleased demo tracks from the album, mostly acoustic guitar and vocals only these tracks shed a little light on the true songwriting genius of Evan Dando. The included DVD was actually released some years back and features not only some of the most memorable music videos from the early 90's, but also some devastatingly great live performances from the band's Australian tour. Also included are some great behind the scenes moments from the tour that really illustrate just how much fun this young and great band was having at the time.

Do yourself a favor. Kick back and relax with a copy of this re-released Collectors Edition of The Lemonheads' It's A Shame About Ray and relive your glorious younger days to a beautiful soundtrack… or, even better, crank it as you live your life and make new glorious days. This is great music for great times in your life, memorable and enjoyable as only the best pop could be.

-Embo Blake

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