Johnny Goudie & The Little Champions, El Payaso
With El Payaso, it should come as no surprise that Texas’ legendary Johnny Goudie (of Johnny Goudie & The Little Champions) is still rock’n along and just as prolific as ever, albeit this time with a twangy country tinge, happier, pop-rocky explosion, more introspective tunes about love and rejection. “You Can’t Pretend Forever” is the hit of the album, with hard-hitting lyrics like, “You can’t pretend forever that you’ll never have to say goodbye,” and “You’re much more fun when you lose control.” I tracked down the super cute video for the song, by the way — you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i4AH-wT4Uo.
I don’t know what it’s called in “official” musical terms, but I love the little unexpected stop and change there near the end…you’ll know what I’m talking about. Johnny will need to explain the Whitney Houston reference to us, though. It looks like he and his friends and family had a blast making the video.
Back to the album itself, “Too Beautiful to Believe” is a lovely title that would get a girl all dreamy inside, until she listens closely to the hidden back-handed message: “You’re just too beautiful to believe / I like you a whole lot more when you leave.” But then, I guess we’ve probably all come across this kind at one time or another. “All the Tea in China” is the only song I’m not crazy about; it’s a slick summary of Johnny’s upset in not scoring some “golden” va-j-j outta “dreamy Marie.”
“Get Out” has a more melancholy country vibe going, with my favorite instrument, the steel guitar, crying sweetly in the background. It’s my personal high point on the album and has the makings of a theme song for any of us who’ve suffered through divorce or the bitter, stinging breakdown of a serious relationship. “With your heart torn and on the floor, you make your way to the door / You get out, you get out, you get out / and then you run.” The last song on the album is classical-meets-pop track “Listen to Me,” which starts out and ends softly with the beautiful Tosca Stringed Quartet (which, according to the press release, has also accompanied David Byrne).
The creative album artwork by Alexandra Velenti features pictures of Johnny as a child, along with his mom, dad, and other family members. I can’t help but want to see the guy succeed — after all, I’ve known him for a decade now. He even has a pet name for me: “Malice.” I hope I live up to it.