CHARLIE MCALISTER: I Am the World’s Richest Man: LP

Feb 06, 2020

I hope longtime fans and friends and family of the late Charlie McAlister will forgive me for this very basic first-time-listener review of I Am the World’s Richest Man, which is, I think, the first posthumous Charlie McAlister release, and also an incredible introduction to his charming and brilliant lo-fi music. For those unfamiliar, think Daniel Johnston, R. Stevie Moore, maybe early Silver Jews? (It feels reductive to group McAlister with other artists; I just mention them as a starting point.) There is a home-y, folky quality to this record, the altered banjo strumming, the warmth and immediacy of the tape sound, the melodic inventiveness, the casual swearing, the lyrics that seem to be direct thoughts about money and friends and food and yearning, all the specifics that are so instantly universal. I don’t want to go on and on about the amateur spirit, about how art isn’t about big deal artists that you hear on the radio or see in a gallery or read about in the big books, that art is a part of daily life and as real and available as anything else. But what else can you say when you hear someone like this? I’m not sure how many of these LPs are floating around, but I hope people press play on McAlister’s rambling and look at his notebook squiggles and bad handwriting and everything there is to find in this great sentimental goofball collection. –Matt Werts (Spew Geyser, / Tick Tock / Almost Halloween Time /