ART PAUL SCHLOSSER – The Tribute
Sometimes it takes a little different perspective to fully appreciate an artist’s genius. Art Paul Schlosser: The Tribute is a pretty amazing collection of interpretations of Schlosser’s songs. Schlosser, as many of you know, has been a fixture in Madison music for a long time now. He’s a constant presence as a street musician on State Street but also makes rare club appearances, especially for benefits and fundraisers. This recording is something like his ka-zillionth release.
Schlosser makes a few appearances himself on his own tribute CD, which seems only fitting. It wasn’t until I heard “I’ll Meet You on Mars” with guitarist/harmonica player Robert W. Monthey joining Schlosser that I realized Schlosser is Madison’s own version of Syd Barrett; he writes songs that twist reality with clever wordplay and end up making a lot more sense than reality itself does. Later Schlosser and his wife Robin Good do a take on “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Schlosser’s rap with the Great Lukeski on “I’m More Demented Than You/Pink Pants” is uproariously funny, recorded before a live audience. The Beeves bring indie-rock ethos to “She’s the Only Dandelion in My Whole World” with Schlosser voicing over and then joining in for the refrain.
Digibot and the Consequences throw in some peachy ultra-lo-fi tracks with “I Just Made it Up” and “Punk Rock in the White House,” respectively. Dr. Chris Kammer flirts with vaudeville on his likeable, toe-tapping version of “I Like My Mother.” Joe Bainbridge turns in two tracks with “Pink Pants” and “Maybe You Think I’m Weird,” the latter being one of Schlosser’s most revealing songs. Biff Blumfumgagnge adds one of the more interesting interpretations, an electronic rendition of “The One Chord Song” with an abundance of Eastern-flavored violin. Arlo Leach channels Arlo Guthrie on the winsome “My Mother is Reading a Book,” and Seth Hoffman underscores the Syd Barrett association with “Is That Linda.” Other tracks approach Dr. Demento status but when interspersed with the more standard song arrangements, they contribute an important and humorous contrast.
The end result is 27 tracks of highly entertaining Art Paul classics, many making even-tempo arrangements out of Schlosser’s often jagged-but-honest delivery. Art Paul Schlosser: The Tribute is a must-have for any collector of Madison local music.