Peter Case, Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John

Peter Blackstock

By Peter Blackstock

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A renowned power-popper turns to the folkie realm.

When he left the power-poppin'Plimsouls to go solo in the mid '80s, Peter Case took a sharp turn toward acoustic troubadour territory. Since then he's frequently returned to more amped-up avenues, but on Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John (its title a tip of the hat to the late country bluesman Sleepy John Estes), he's squarely in the folkie realm. The performances primarily feature just Case and his acoustic guitar, with the occasional cameo contribution (most notably Richard Thompson on the opening “Every 24 Hours”). “Million Dollars Bail” vividly portrays the societal gulf between the upper and lower classes; “Palookaville” is drenched in the dispiritedness of down-and-out characters who “coulda been somebody”; “Somebrightmorningblues” looks toward a way out, somewhere on the horizon. And there are hints of Case's full-band past; it's easy to imagine “Just Hangin'On” being delivered with the same punch of the Plimsouls staple “Now.”