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Uncle Jim 

Superstars of Greenwich Meantime

Wednesday, Feb 22 2006
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Uncle Jim is a spoken-word persona of Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls, based on his real relative; the original Uncle Jim lived in Virginia, and passed away in 2002. Bishop's takes on his uncle's idiosyncratic musings have appeared sporadically, starting in 1984 on the debut SCG album, but Superstars is the first disc devoted solely to the curmudgeonly character. Like a collision of conspiracy theorists, blue comics, Beat poets, and revolutionary rappers, these six tracks of rapid-fire rant set to music are amusing and vitriolic. "Liberties" starts things off with Jim/Bishop marveling that with so much room for greatness, why is the room so empty? It then veers into a dissertation on the underground market for Bigfoot/ Yeti body parts, before ending with Jim visiting heaven, which is "like a handicraft market gone wrong." Scathing commentary abounds, e.g., "I hate terminal cafe dwellers; it's the blue-light cell-phone cancer of the fidget fumblers," on the outrageously raunchy hip hop of "Graduation Day." And there are plenty of zingers, like "You wouldn't know cool if you were a Charlie Parker horn solo." While Uncle Jim inspires all the text on this album, the wistful "Flashback" consists entirely of verbatim quotes from the man, stuff like "When I die, I'm coming back!" And in a way, he did, via Superstars of Greenwich Meantime.

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Mike Rowell

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