When I first heard that Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween) was going to release a solo album, I was giddy as a school-girl. Ween hasn’t released an actual album since La Cucaracha in 2007, although Deaner did drop The Caesar Demos last year. If you’re in a serious need of hearing Ween tunes you’ve never heard before, it’s definitely a must-have. The download links are still up at MediaFire – Here’s Disc One and here’s Disc Two. Anyway, when I first heard Aaron was putting out an album, I had visions of slow ballads that were a touch too soft for Ween but would still have his off-kilter beauty shining through. The pseudo-bummer is that the album is actually a collection of songs originally penned by Rod McKuen.
Now if you’re like me, too young to have been a complete music geek in the 70′s, then you also have no idea who Rod McKuen is. Turns out Gener didn’t have a clue either, til producer Ben Vaughn turned him on. Well good ole’ Rod here supposedly wrote over 1500 songs in the 50s through the 80s, for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Madonna. And yeah, he’s got a little odd twist to his writing and his voice has an ironic snarl that points to a hidden amusement in even the most serious of moments, but these aren’t Ween songs. This is Aaron Freeman paying his respects to an artist that he truly appreciates and wants to turn more folks onto. So, it is what it is for what it is, but fuck, I was hoping for it to be just a little bit more. I guess it’s a good way to get your grandmother into Ween, but other than that it’s only gonna make you want to listen to The Mollusk on repeat a few more times. Give it a shot yourself. Here’s Freeman’s take on “As I Love My Own.”
And here’s some original Rod with “Marvelous Clouds.”
And if you need Ween you haven’t heard, here’s “Ambrosia Parsley” – another classic Prince on Mushrooms groove.