Jud Newcomb

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Jud Newcomb

Turbinado (Freedom) The dictionary defines "turbinado" as raw sugar that's been cleaned by steam to make it edible. The coarse turbinado crystals are light brown in color, with the flavor of molasses. A more appropriate title for the music of Jud Newcomb would be hard to find. Coarse yet sweet. Surprisingly, Turbinado is the first solo disc from the local music institution most of us know as "Scrappy." He's a member of Loose Diamonds, the Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers, and the Resentments, and lots of folks know him from his work with Beaver Nelson and Toni Price. Here, he's written all the songs, and the variety of textures Newcomb creates with the aid of Austin all-stars Bruce Hughes, Conrad Choucroun, Ian McLagan, John Ratliff, and Rich Brotherton are endlessly engaging. This is truly singer-songwriter fare, comparable to the work of iconoclasts like Chuck Prophet in its quirky yet intriguing command of repeat listening. Some will find Newcomb's voice an acquired taste: It's a scratchy warble most of the time. Yet there's a sense here that he's stretching his talent to its furthest point, and the result is startling and effecting. Standing out among Turbinado's 12 tracks are funky rant "The Dove," the slyly swinging "How Did Your Sweet Lover Croon?," and the noisy angular blues "People, People." Hey Scrappy, you did good. You made an album that doesn't sound like anyone but you, and that's probably the highest compliment any musician can get. (Jud Newcomb refines Turbinado at the Continental Club Friday, May 30, and in-store at Jupiter Records that same evening, 7pm.)

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