Listen to this track by Third Man Records exec and wailin’ R&B-oriented rock ‘n’ roll firebrand of a different stripe altogether Jack White. It’s “Lazaretto”, the eponymous track from his newest solo record, Lazaretto.
White trumpeted something of an international sensation with this track. Not only does it deliver that for which White has always been known and celebrated as a singer-songwriter and record producer who bridges the gap between the blues and rock without stigmatizing either, it was also the center of a more universal story; no less than a Guinness World Record!
A live version of “Lazaretto” was recorded, pressed, and distributed inside of a single day, in mere hours. White has very often hearkened back to a more off-the-floor and hands-on approach to putting out songs. So this back to basics approach wasn’t entirely out of character. This is a man who created the White Stripes’ most successful record (Elephant) in three days. Hey! If it was good enough for Jesus …
So, what was the story in this case? And what should be the main takeaways for us as fans, and perhaps for other artists, too?
Listen to this song by rock classicists the Raconteurs. It’s “Old Enough”, a single taken from 2008’s Consolers Of The Lonely, their second release.
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When is a side project not a side project? When those involved say it isn’t?
The Raconteurs are made up of members with their own active bands. Bassist Patrick Keeler and drummer Jack Lawrence are the rhythm section with the Greenhornes. Singer-guitarist Brenden Benson is a respected solo artist. And of course Jack White has built up a name for himself while working with “sister” Meg White as the White Stripes. Those bands are as active as ever.
With this, you’d think that the Raconteur’s would be something of a hobby band getting the dregs of songwriting efforts. But, listen to this track, beaming with energy and shimmering with melodic bounce. It helps that Jack White has always been prolific, interested in the entire gamut of rock songwriting and presentation. And Brenden Benson knows a thing or two about hooks. But, is this a real band – really? If a commitment to writing songs which is displayed here is any indication, I don’t know how anyone could answer with anything other than a resounding ‘yes’.
There are lots of great moments on this album, but this song is the centrepiece, the beating heart of the record as a whole. It pulls in a sort of 70s stadium rock sound, mixed with country rock, and a bit of prog blended in there too. The danger with a tune like this is that in the wrong hands it could turn into a pastiche. But, as it is it sings, as the enthusiam the players have for the material shines through.
For more information, check out the charmingly early 80s retro Raconteurs website.
And check out the Raconteurs MySpace page too.