Personnel: Jonathan Richman (vocals, guitar, saxophone); Brennan Totten (vocals, guitar); Johnny Avila (vocals, drums).
Recorded at Bennett House, Grass Valley, California.
Jonathan Richman/Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers: Jonathan Richman (vocals, guitar, saxophone); Brennan Totten (vocals, guitar); Johnny Avila (vocals, drums).
This album marked the start of a fine series of annual releases by Jonathan Richman on Rounder. A minimalist trio of drums and two guitars (and often sounding like less), the group rocks with tremendous verve, starting with the opening number, "Dancing Late At Night." With guitarist Brennan Totten and drummer Johnny Avila also contributing background vocals, there's some exuberant call and response, shouted asides and heavenly "oohs" and "aahs" which reveal Richman's love of the sound of '50s vocal groups.
The album plays like an easygoing house party--music for dancing, music for making out, and all at a volume that will not alarm the neighbors. Richman never sings a song he doesn't fully believe. "When Harpo Played His Harp" is a heartfelt tribute to the silent Marx Brother while the album's one cover, "The Theme From Moulin Rouge" is a faithful and bare version featuring Richman's wordless vocals accompanied by his guitar.