Boasting probably the best album title since someone decided to name Paul Westerberg’s best of album Besterberg, Carmaig de Forest’s I Shall Be Released (christened I Shall Be Re-Released for this collection) gets the full re-release treatment from Omnivore for its 30th anniversary.
While de Forest may never have been as popular as the acts he was always grouped with (Violent Femmes, They Might Be Giants), he was one of the smartest, wryest folk rockers to every pick up a ukulele.
The original album, produced by Alex Chilton, sounds just as jaw-droppingly original in 2017 as it did in 1987. Across the 15 original tracks, de Forest, with a voice somewhere between Jonathan Richman and Gordan Gano, tackles everything from fascism (“Crack’s No Worse Than the Fascist Threat”) to hell (“Hey Judas”) and tosses in a fantastic of-kilter cover of “Secret Agent Man” while he’s at it.
This re-release includes 11 additional tracks, a mix of four unreleased songs and a slew of live takes. Although most of the extras here are upper tier songs like his cover of the traditional murder ballad “Banks of the Ohio” and “I Don’t Want to Go to Your Hometown” are flat out brilliant. While his live take of the show closer medley of Frank Sinatra’s “One More for My Baby” and the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” underscores perfectly everything that’s so amazing about Carmaig de Forest.