The LEMONHEADS – ” It’s A Shame About Ray ” 30th Anniversary

Posted: November 25, 2021 in MUSIC
Lemonheads   it's a shame about ray   gold vinyl render

Lemonheads’ seminal album ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’, lovingly reissued for it’s 30th Anniversary. The long overdue reissue includes a slew of extra material, including an unreleased ‘My Drug Buddy’ KCRW session track from 1992 featuring Juliana Hatfield, B-sides from singles ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ and ‘Confetti’, a track from the ‘Mrs. Robinson/Being Round’ EP, alongside demos that will be released for the first time on vinyl. This reissue celebrates their prestigious fifth album, the deluxe book back editions feature new liner notes and unseen photos.

Described By Music Journalist’s As “A 30-Minute Insight Into What It’s Like To Live Hard And Fast And Loose And Happy With Like-Minded Buddies, Fuelled By A Shared Love For Similar Bands And Drugs And Booze And Freedom.”. ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ Had A Considerable Impact Back In Those Heady, Carefree Days Of ’92, The Record Perfectly Captures Evan Dando’s Ability To Effortlessly Encapsulate Teenage Longing And Lust Over The Course Of A Two-Minute Pop Song.

Singles Such As ‘My Drug Buddy’ And The Breezy Perfect Pop Of The Title Track Might Stand Out (Plus The Add-On Of ‘Mrs. Robinson’ Which Later Copies Included), But The Album’s Real Strength Lies In The Tracks In-Between; The Truly Fantastic ‘Confetti’ (Written About Evan’s Parents’ Divorce), And The Eye-Wateringly Casual Acoustic Cover Of ‘Frank Mills’ (From The “Hippie” Musical Hair), A Version That Seems To Resonate With Every Ounce Of Pathos And Emotion Felt For The Lost 1960s Generation.

To Hear Evan Dando Sing Lines Like ‘I Love Him/But It Embarrasses Me/To Walk Down The Street With Him/He Lives In Brooklyn Somewhere/And He Wears His White Crash Helmet’ Is To Truly Appreciate How Wonderful And Tantalising Pop Music Can Be. Then, There’s The Rush Of Insurgency And Brattishness On The Wonderfully Truncated ‘Bit Part’; The Topsy-Turvy ‘Ceiling Fan In My Spoon’... This Was Male Teenage Skinny-Tie Pop Music On A Level Of Brilliance With The Kinks, Early Undertones, Wipers.

Ray still sounds revelatory in its restlessness, mixing college pop with country flair and relocating Gus Van Sant’s Portland atmosphere to New England.”

The long-simmering promise of Evan Dando finally boiled over into something close to stardom back in 1992 with the release of Lemonheads’ fifth album “It’s A Shame About Ray”. On it, the movie star handsome singer/songwriter crystallized a folk-pop sound with a little help from longtime compatriot Juliana Hatfield and bared his lustful and goofy self in his lyrics of dopesick hunger (“My Drug Buddy”), stoned reverie (“Ceiling Fan in My Spoon”), romantic longing and the wide-eyed delight of a toddler out for a ride in a stroller. For the album’s 30th anniversary, Fire Records followed the trail that Dando took before and after its release, gathering demo versions and equally great B-sides like a version of “Shakey Ground,” a song by Australian alt-rock group Smudge, and an acoustic rendition of ABBA’s “Knowing Me, Knowing You” that left this writer weak in the knees when he heard it at the tender age of 17. And, of course, the bonus disc kicks off with the Lemonheads’ massively successful cover of “Mrs. Robinson,” a song originally recorded for another archival release (the 25th anniversary of The Graduate) that became Dando’s biggest selling single. 

The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray” : 30th Anniversary (Vinyl 2LP) £28.99
(March 4th)

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