October 01, 2021

Mark Lanegan - I'll Take Care of You (1999)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Americana
Label Number: SPCD 445
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile

© 1999 Sub Pop
I'll Take Care of You Review by Steve Huey
By now, anyone who has heard one of Mark Lanegan's solo albums knows exactly what the others will sound like -- Lanegan's weathered, smoky voice intones tales of quiet desperation over echoing electric guitar arpeggios, folky acoustic guitar work, and the occasional piano, organ, or violin embellishment. This approach has resulted in a compelling body of work, often possessed of remarkable depth, but it's also become something of a stylistic straitjacket over the course of several albums. And that's the only major knock against the otherwise brilliant I'll Take Care of You, Lanegan's fourth solo album, which marks the first time it hasn't taken him four years to deliver a follow-up. Perhaps that's because there's no original material here -- I'll Take Care of You applies the drifting, elegiac qualities of its predecessors to a selection of well-chosen, mostly underexposed folk, country, and blues covers. It's a testament to Lanegan's interpretive skill that he's able to use his already well-established style so effectively yet again, as most of these versions range from stunning to merely excellent. His sources are widely varied: acclaimed but undervalued folk artists like Tim Hardin and Fred Neil, soul-blues singer Bobby Bland (the Brook Benton-penned title track), cult indie bands the Gun Club and the Leaving Trains, country superstar Buck Owens, and traditional folk songs best known through Dave Van Ronk and Doc Watson. Yet the uniformity of Lanegan's sound works in his favor, tying his disparate sources together and making them seem like the product of a unified worldview. Even on the more upbeat, major-key tunes, Lanegan's treatments make the singer's happiness sound wistful and fleeting, as though he's achieved a quiet peace and is already mourning its inevitable end. Moreover, he never overplays the darker dirges, and the restrained arrangements help ensure that his melancholy never seems forced. As good as they are, there are parts of every Lanegan album that float off into the ether; however, the material on I'll Take Care of You helps keep him tethered, actually improving on his signature sound by tightening it up. So, even if you think you've heard it all from Lanegan before -- and even if he'll have to open up his sound or risk diluting the qualities that make him compelling -- I'll Take Care of You really is one of his most affecting, accessible recordings, if not the most.

tags: mark lanegan, ill take care of you, i'll, 1999, flac,


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