I’ll Take Care Of You

[a]Mark Lanegan[/a], tobacco-chewing loose cannon frontman of [a]Screaming Trees[/a], is a bad man....

[a]Mark Lanegan[/a], tobacco-chewing loose cannon frontman of [a]Screaming Trees[/a], is a bad man. Of that there is no doubt.

This, his fourth solo album, finds him in cover-version mode, but also digging deeper into the dark night of the soul than on any of his previous efforts. And for that, it’s probably his finest, most tenderly-delivered work to date.

Teaming up again with ex-[a]Dinosaur Jr.[/a] bassist Mike Johnson, the arrangements are stark and simple, leaving space for Lanegan’s ever-maturing whiskey-soaked baritone to dominate these 11 hymns to lost loves and broken lives. On Brook Benton‘s ‘I’ll Take Care Of You‘, Lanegan‘s a tortured barfly heartbreaker, slurring promises of a better tomorrow to the latest broken heart that’s crossed the doormat of his local. You can almost see the poor waif, suitcase in hand and mascara running down her face as a sozzled, sleazy Lanegan, glass in hand, promises: [I]”I’ve loved and lost/The same as you/So you see I know just what you’ve been through”[/I]. Take care, poor girl – you’re entering a world of pain.

Because even though his handsome cooings would charm the nuns out of the trees, Lanegan‘s in a dark place. But don’t fret or write this off as a self-indulgent depression album, because the grimness is broken up by some great ‘songs for lovers’ moments, notably his take on Eddie Floyd‘s ‘Consider Me‘ and Buck Owens’ ‘Together Again’. These two gems, coupled with the sleazy bluster of Tim Rose’s ‘Boogie Boogie’ leave you doubtless of Lanegan‘s moral code, and in awe of the man’s mastery of pathos and unquestionable spirit.

It’s his own stupid fault he’s in trouble, but you suspect he’s had a whale of time getting into it. See you at the bar, Mark.

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