John Doe – Keeper

January 01, 1970

(Yep Roc)


John Doe’s solo career has provided one of the more unlikely
trajectories of recent times, one which found him trading his raucous
beginnings with X for a streamlined sound that’s accommodated country, roots
and even traditional folk. So it’s little surprise that at this point in his
endeavors, he’s settled into the role of a seasoned academic, his lesson plan
providing a broad musical overview filled with novelty and nuance.


As its title suggests, Keeper surveys a broad swath of sturdy musical genres, from purely unadulterated rock
‘n’ roll (“Never Enough,” “Jump Into My Arms”) to surprisingly sentimental
ballads (“Lucky Penny,” ” Don’t Forget How Much I Love You”), to twilight
cabaret (“Moonbeam”) and samplings of honky tonk (“Walking Out the Door”). In
the hands of a less accomplished artist, the variety might verge on the
schizophrenic, but Doe comes across as more than able to master these various
forms and give them equal aplomb. Even the album cover lends itself to this
conclusion, with a wizened looking Doe dressed in a rumpled suit scratching his
head and rubbing his chest in a comforting self embrace. Patty Griffin, Don
Was, Howe Gelb and Jill Sobule are among those lending support and Doe guides his
recruits assuredly, making Keeper one
rousing escapade that’s worthy of its name.


Optimism hasn’t always been a hallmark of Doe’s endeavors,
but it ought to be said that this less-dour Doe is easy to enjoy.


Enough,” “Don’t Forget How Much I Love You,” “Lucky Penny” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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