Adam Brodsky/Butch Ross

November 11, 1999

Folk Remedy/Selected Works of Friction


There's really no substitute for seeing Adam Brodsky live. Half the fun is watching him think up clever introductions faster than you can say them. But his second full-length, Folk Remedy, with songs well crafted enough to stand on their own, is the next best thing. Brodsky's good at quickies: "All" condenses the history of the world into 60 seconds, while "6 Months" - in which boy meets girl, boy dates girl, then boy loses girl - is even shorter. Scamming on chicks is a recurring theme, and there are at least three Positively Grape Street moments here. It takes a delicate balance of attitude and aptitude to deliver lines like "Mojo Nixon by the bar, was drunk and talking crass/He took a kick right in the nads when he grabbed Liz Phair's ass." With a backing band or just the Permanent Records chief accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, it's all good (except the cranky "Napolean's [sic] Watergate" and the cornball "Patsy Cline"). Buy Folk Remedy and you'll get a highly entertaining hour of raw, literate folk/punk without leaving home to see one of Brodsky's manic shows, though you should do both.

Labelmate Butch Ross' Selected Works of Friction has one seething standout in "New York", with its keen observation that "The city they named twice is more a time bomb than a town." Too often, though, his vignettes fizzle, as on the Shawn Mullins sound-alike "Airborne." The more fleshed-out songs are a mixed bag, as "Spider & the Fly" works better on subsequent listening. But mostly, Ross comes off as a rootsier James Taylor.

Copyright  1999, CP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

by M.J. Fine, Philadelphia City Paper

updated: 17 years ago