Gary Lucas / Street of Lost Brothers

by Richard Gehr

water color of drab street

Gary Lucas
Street of Lost Brothers

Tzadik Records, TZ7145, 2000

Sort of an adult follow-up to Gary Lucas's 1998 Jewish-themed album Busy Being Born, "Street of Lost Brothers" continues this great blues-oriented guitarist's obsession with the kaleidoscopic fragments of the Jewish cultural soul. But where "Busy Being Born" concentrated on chuckles and children's music, "Lost Brothers" has a more serious bent. Dig the liturgical symbolism of an album that begins with the hard-bopping electric hurly-burly of "Yigdal" and concludes with "Sh'ma," an eleven-minute electric duet for digitally delayed guitar and keyboards. It's mainly a solo meditation, however, with Lucas rambling with loose, virtuosic hyperactivity between American and European stations on acoustic and electric slide guitars. Other high points include the Leo Kotke-esque "The Opener of the Way," the satirical "Level the Playing Field" (in which he tweaks the technologically dependent), an acoustic version of the Marx Brothers' "I Kill You For Nothing," a wailing, Hendrixian, know-your-enemy version of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," and the obligatory Velvets' cover, "European Son." If anything, Lucas is a little too all-over-the-map. But that's OK. The album's still a memorable visit to old countries galore. B+

Reviewed by Richard Gehr, 7 Jan 2001


Personnel this recording:
Gary Lucas: electric, acoustic, and steel guitars, vocals (3, 6), raygun, kibbitzing (1)

Gods and Monsters (1, 4)
Gary Lucas: acoustic and electric slide guitars
Ernie Brooks: bass
Jonathan Kane: drums

O-Bay-Gone Band (12)
Gary Lucas: electric guitar
Jesper Gadelius: guitar
Hank Frisch: harmonica
Peter Eng: bass
Aldo Tsang: drums

Special guests
John Zorn: alto sax on track 1
Walter Horn: synths, piano, sampler (11)
Kenny and Larry: vocals (1, 4)



  1. Yigdal (trad., arr. Lucas) 3:01
  2. The Opener of the Way (Lucas) 2:13
  3. That's my life (Lucas) 4:22
  4. Mahzel means good luck (Wayne/Beekman) 2:35
  5. It's like a wheel (Lucas) 4:47
  6. European Son (Reed/Cale/Morrison/Tucker) 3:11
  7. I Kill you for nothing--Marx Bros. Medley (Berlin, Kalmar/Ruby) 2:48
  8. Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner, arr. Lucas) 4:00
  9. Let my people go (trad., arr. Lucas) 3:34
  10. Level the playing field (Lucas) 3:00
  11. Sh'ma (trad., arr. Lucas/Horn) 10:54
  12. The Tel Aviv Ghetto Fighters' song (Frisch/Lucas) 3:55

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