Rainy Day Song


"Rainy Day Song is the first release of new Ed Askew material since Ed Askew/Ask the Unicorn (ESP-Disk, 1968). The scarcity of commercially available Ed Askew albums belies an artist in perpetual bloom -- painter and songwriter poet. After graduating from Yale Art School in 1966, Ed began teaching art in New Haven and shortly thereafter released his eponymous debut (later re-named Ask the Unicorn). Ed Askew recorded a follow up called Little Eyes that ESP-Disk chose, for unknown reasons, not to release (This album was finally issued on CD in 2007 by De Stijl Records). And now forty years have passed since the original ESP-Disk release and Ed Askew has a formidable backlog of unreleased music. Rainy Day Song, his most recent work, was recorded in the summer of 2007 in New York City, where Ed has lived since moving there from New Haven in the 1980s. He says: 'When I start a song it's a kind of virgin situation. There are certain things I do and I have my character like everybody has their character. But I believe on some level that it comes from nothing -- there are certain things you do -- but in a sense: who does it?' Lyrically, Askew bears a striking resemblance to Paul Goodman, the mid-20th century New York City poet, novelist, gestalt psychologist, and anarchist social theorist. Like Goodman's poetry, Askew's lyrics shift effortlessly from contemplative abstraction to political tirades, from naturalist landscapes to graphic descriptions of urban street life, from childhood vignettes to tales of gay romance-conveyed in language that's at once elegant and conversational. Also like Goodman, Askew displays (in both his lyrics and his music) a stubborn indifference to contemporary fashion. If that's what makes Askew's music such a hard sell for current labels and commercial audiences, it's also the source of its timelessness. Whether you choose to listen to it now or wait for the next round of 'reissues' forty years from now, this is music that will endure." --David Shirley