Vic Chesnutt
 
 
The reissue of Vic Chesnutt’s first four albums...
 
 
  The reissue of Vic Chesnutt’s first four albums - Little, West Of Rome, Drunk and Is The Actor Happy? - is cause for serious celebration. All are bona-fide cornerstones of indie music, revered world-wide by fans, critics and, especially it seems, by other artists. Folks like Michael Stipe, Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits, Van Dyke Parks and Jonathan Richman have championed Vic’s music over the years. Long out of general circulation, these re-releases are the quintessential Vic Chesnutt.

When Vic first entered the scene with his exquisite melodies, off-beat yet erudite poetry and sharp tongue, he was instantly recognized as an artist that had a unique vision. He simply sounded like no one else. In a review of his debut album, Little in 1990, Alternative Press claimed that, “The Sex Pistols pretended they were as authentic as Vic Chesnutt just is.” Rolling Stone reviewed Little by saying the songs “resonate with a soulful man-child insight” and went on to describe Vic as “a gifted, willful storyteller.” The Village Voice called him, “pathetic, charming, belligerent, drunk or the damnedest white groit since Leonard Cohen.” And Q Magazine nailed it when they described Vic’s music as “ramshackle folk, shot through with a punk spirit.”
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These reissues contain a total of 26 bonus tracks. They come from many different sources. Some are studio outtakes. Some are demos or live recordings of songs written around the same general time period as the album.
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Little (originally released fall of 1990)
The fifteen tracks here represent the complete recording session for the album, which took place on October 6th, 1988 and was produced by Michael Stipe. There were ten on the original album – we now add the five outtakes in the bonus track section. Of special note are “Bernadette” which was re-recorded in 1998 for his album The Salesman And Bernadette. “Miss Mary,” another early version, it was re-recorded and released on the next album, West Of Rome. “Elberton Fair” is actually a poem that Vic put to music. The words were written by Vic’s close friend, author and Georgia historian, John Seawright. John sadly passed away in 2001. Vic dedicates this reissue of Little to him.
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West Of Rome (originally released fall of ’92)
Considered by many Vic aficionados to be his best album, it has been slightly reconfigured. We have moved “Latenet/Blatant” into the bonus track section so that the record opens with “Bug” as Vic and producer Michael Stipe originally intended. The final track in the main body of the album was an instrumental “hidden track,” and is now listed as track #14 and titled “Little Fugue.” The first two bonus tracks, “Nathan” and “Where’s The Clock,” are the only two outtakes from the WOR sessions. “Flying” is of special note in that a snippet of this recording was included in the documentary film ‘Speed Racer.’ It has long been sought after by Vic fans and is often requested at concerts. “Shippin’ Out” is an unearthed gem. Vic doesn’t remember where it was recorded but knows it was from the WOR time period.

Drunk (originally released in the fall of ’93)
Actually recorded before WOR was even released, this album is Vic’s edgiest and most out there. The bonus tracks are from several sources. “Cutty Sark,” “Lillian Gish” and “Arthur Murray” are outtakes from the album sessions. “Bad Boy Town” is a rocker that originally appeared on the B-side of the 7” single of “Sleeping Man.” This album is dedicated to the late Michael Houser, former guitarist of Widespread Panic.
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Is The Actor Happy?
Unquestionably Vic’s finest sounding record, with legendary producer John Keane (R.E.M., Widespread Panic, Indigo Girls) at the helm. It contains several of his most acclaimed songs, including “Gravity Of The Situation,” “Onion Soup” and “Free Of Hope.” “Assist” was recorded for a Dutch radio program. “What Surrounds Me” and “Thailand” (early version) were done at a friends apartment in Brooklyn. “Fun Party/Shoestring Store” was recorded in Nashville his friends, the band Lambchop.
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