VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute: CD

Does anyone ever really dig a tribute album? I mean, how often do you hear a cover that trumps the work that it’s paying tribute to? It happens, sure, but it’s rare. And, sadly, that’s the case with this beautiful sentiment as well. Granted, Tony’s shoes are no easy fill. These songs were the soundtrack to so many lives, mine certainly being no exception; and, inevitably, a slowed-down ska version of, well, any of them is going to fall way short of the mark. And, fuck, I’m getting tired of the, “I’m an old punk dude but now I play folky-country-subpar-lazy garbage now” thing. Luckily, there are a few amazing, fist-biting, tear-jerking heartbreakers on here (Karina Denike and Joey Cape’s contributions brilliantly display an obviously intimate and memory-filled relationship with Tony), and even a couple of the ragers are exciting enough to make me smile (Strung Out’s “Soulmate” is a shredder), but the rest of the record mostly makes me wish I was hearing the far-superior originals and leaves me aching for a dude I felt like I knew. A wonderful tribute, no doubt, and what an honor it must have been to be asked, but, unfortunately, the final result is too hit or miss for my liking. Rest easy. 

 –Dave William (Fat Wreck)