Lucky Number Records
He’s about to turn 70 and “Ratso” has just released his debut album. Maybe you know him by his given name, Larry Sloman. He wrote about Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue and is widely published as a journalist and author, including co-writing two best-selling memoirs by Howard Stern, as well as the books by Anthony Keidis, Mike Tyson and Peter Criss of KISS. Oh yeah, he also wrote a wee ode to marijuana called Reefer Madness and a biography of Houdini. There have been a few other books, a stint at the helm of National Lampoon and he appears in character, in many of Kinky Friedman’s books.
Larry Sloman was nicknamed “Ratso” by Joan Baez. She was reminded of the character immortalised by Dustin Hoffman. The name stuck. And as a jobbing hack Ratso has gone on tour with Leonard Cohen, written songs with John Cale, been a foil for many and shared one with many more…
And now he’s having a hoon at a croon – including on some of the songs he wrote with Cale.
In-between we get a duet with Nick Cave (Our Lady of Light) and a flit by the songs he wrote with Mr. Cale (Caribbean Sunset, Living in Moonlight and – most famously – Dying on The Vine).
Ratso is to Dylan and Cohen what Chuck E. Weiss was to Tom Waits.
And this debut album concludes with a ramshackle rendering of Dylan’s Sad Eyed Lady of The Lowlands. Running the full length of the original (around 12 minutes) he manages to make a decent fist of it. Sounding a bit like Peter Perrett at times.
Do you need to know all of this and hear this? Maybe not. But you could do a lot worse. There’s something magical about the best bits here. And it’s a life lived. Stories still to tell after telling so many. I’m enjoying this. And you might too…
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