100 for 2000 – #34. Josh Rouse – 1972

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2003 – #4. Josh Rouse – 1972
(Ryko)

Josh Rouse has always been a sad sack. His three previous albums all had lovely moments, and were sadly sighing singer songwriter affairs. But on his fourth album, he decided to have a little more fun. Taking inspiration from the year of his birth, he seeked to recapture the feeling and moods of the era. So he travelled back in time to 1972.

It takes a lot of cues from lots of music I love – Carole King, ballad-y Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, those early Paul Simon solo records etc. There is also a fair bit of soul on this record. Like 5th Dimension, but by a short white guy.

A bit like Lisa Miller’s Car Tape, this record brought me closer to some golden, olden age of music. I didn’t really care for what bands were on the cover of magazines at this point. I was digging deeper into older, weirder stuff.

This is the place to start with Josh Rouse. Musically, it’s tremendously accomplished. The smooth basslines, the keyboard sounds, the trumpet and strings stabs – it’s beautifully recorded. The songwriting is equally great – looping into harmony laden break downs and huge, soulful chorsues – he pulls off exactly what he trying to do.

The album is, like most of 70s soul, about sex and love (in that order). Under Your Charms is Rouse at his most seductive. The young lovers in 1972 and the playboy in James… all paint a picture of the lonely streets in the 70s. It feels like they are characters from some blaxploitation flick.

Oddly though, in recent years this album has fallen off my radar. Several lackluster albums has dulled the magic of this one. Although I have strong memories of this album for Sydney. And that wonderful show at the Annadale Hotel where he played Gillian Welch’s Look At Miss Ohio and Neil Young’s Harvest.

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