R. Stevie Moore - Glad Music (1986)
Widely regarded as one of R. Stevie Moore's finest albums, Glad Music a rarity in that it was recorded in the studio environment rather than at home. Though later CD-R, vinyl, and digital versions included additional material, we'll look to the original LP content here, which is the second of four RSM LPs released through French label New Rose. Not counting Stevie's unofficial mail-order home cassette dubs, this album has currently only officially been released on vinyl by New Rose in 1986, and reissued in the U.S. by Personal Injury in 2013.
Start with: “I Like to Stay Home”, “Part of the Problem”, “Why Should I Love You?” and “Colliding Circles”
Why it’s worth revisiting: This album is arguably one of R. Stevie's best song collections, featuring strong compositions and performances throughout. Additionally, RSM's skillful covers showcase his ability to understand and faithfully contribute to music traditions spanning diverse genres and eras.
Glad Music stars off with the gorgeous – if melancholic – “Norway”, which had already appeared on RSM’s 1978 release, Delicate Tension. Up next is the irresistible pop masterpiece “I Like To Stay Home”, which is probably the most well-known song in Moore’s gargantuan catalog. The title and content are fitting for the “Godfather of Modern Home Recording”, and yet ironically enough, this song appears here on one of his only studio albums (CLACK!, Teenage Spectacular, and Warning are RSM’s other studio albums), funded by New Rose.
“Part of the Problem” is another one of R. Stevie Moore's most celebrated songs, and with good reason – its guitar parts, vocals, and catchy verses and choruses all add up to RSM at his finest. In an moment of typical RSM humor, a voice is heard at the tail end of the track shouting, “You’re wonderful!”, to which Stevie responds, “Thank you – I’m aware of that!”
“Don't Let Me Go to the Dogs” marks the second instance of a great track on this album that appeared on the earlier Delicate Tension album. Stevie exhibits his authoritative grasp of music history with his personal-yet-loyal take on “I Wouldn’t Mind Dyin’”, which is a traditional American song known by several titles, including "Bye and Bye We're Going to See the King". His multi-tracked a cappella version here is a worthy contribution to the history of this song, which had been recorded earlier by the likes of Blind Willie Johnson and the Carter Family, and would later be recorded by Ben Harper, among others. The guitar driven, falsetto-voiced “He’s Nuts” is chock full of attitude and fine musicianship, and provides an eclectic and effective sense of contrast with the preceding track. The flawless “Why Should I Love You?” – yet another one of RSM's most celebrated classics – immediately follows. A fan favorite for decades now, this song reached a wider audience when The Vaccines ably covered it in 2012 as part of a split single with RSM. The release was through O Genesis Recordings, which is run by The Charlatans frontman and RSM collaborator and fan Tim Burgess.
Stevie delves further into music history with his deft cover of Floyd Tillman’s country classic “I Love You So Much It Hurts”. Stevie confirmed for us that both this track and the earlier "Part of the Problem" were actually from the 1980 CLACK! sessions, and "booted up to 16 track and overdubbed/sweetened" for Glad Music.
The punk rock-flavored “Shakin' in the Sixties” lends further breadth to the album, followed by The Assocation’s “Along Comes Mary”, which represents the third cover on the album, and is especially notable for its brief-but-captivating keyboard intro and stellar vocals. The following song, “Colliding Circles”, is what might be dubbed a pseudo-cover. The track – one of Stevie’s finest – is a story unto itself, and has its origins in a rumor stemming back to a 1971 news article that maintained there were a handful of unreleased (but titled) Beatles tracks. “Colliding Circles” is the title of one of these songs that never actually existed, but did finally come to fruition through the talents of RSM. Fittingly – and in characteristically iconoclastic RSM fashion – the album cover of Glad Music is a play on the classic Beatles album artwork for A Hard Day's Night .
The skilled guitar work and spacey vocals of “Time Standstill” moves the mood to an ephemeral folk realm. The album concludes with “The Strange”, which is a remarkably atmospheric and dreamlike instrumental exploration that warrants special attention.
Happy listening, weirdos!