Consumer Guide Album
Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams [Rough Trade, 1988]
The side-openers--"I Just Wanted To See You So Bad," which repeats the title nine times in 21 lines, and "Passionate Kisses," the last of a series of modest demands that begins with a bed that won't hurt her back (a good bed to sleep in, that means)--are winners as written, avid and sensible and all Lucinda. After that the songs are fine, but it's down to a big not enormous, handsome not beautiful voice that's every bit as strong as the will of this singer-by-nature and writer-by-nurture. So at home in blues and country that she won't abide a rock and roll pigeonhole, she fought seven years to do an album her way. She can make a winner out of any song that spurns the clichés she's too avid and sensible to resort to, and why any record man would want to order her around I can only guess. Maybe because she seems just an inch's compromise away from a hit. But that inch is why her rock and roll traditionalism still sounds fresh.