gone again review in baton rouge advocate

[from "Patti Smith's Grief Translates to Some Wonderful Songs" by John Wirt, Baton Rouge Advocate, June 21, 1996]

Patti Smith's often brooding new recording is just her second release since telling the music world adieu in 1979. Only Dream of Life, her 1988 collaboration with husband Fred "Sonic" Smith, preceded Gone Again. The new Smith CD was supposed to be a collaboration, too, but Fred Smith died of heart failure in late 1994.

Though Smith is gone, Gone Again features his widow performing two songs she'd co-written with him. Her poetic lyrics and unmistakable vocals run strongly through one collaboration, the CD's raw, prophetic title track. Comparatively speaking, the collection's other Smith-Smith song—the Bob Dylan-esque "Summer Cannibals"—is a lighthearted, sultry treat.

The singer's grief colors several of Gone Again's solemn songs, including "Beneath the Southern Cross," the epic "About A Boy" and aptly titled "My Madrigal." Dylan comes to mind again with the slightly country "Dead to the World" and passion and hurt of "Ravens." Smith's affinity for Dylan is driven home once more with her wrenching cover of his "Wicked Messsenger."

In Smith's case, grief translates to some wonderful if daunting new songs from a still-vital artist.

Copyright © John Wirt 1996

back to babelogue