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Talking Heads: The Name of This Band is Talking Heads ****

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rossiter Drake*

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TALKING HEADS: The Name of This Band is Talking Heads
(Courtesy of SF Weekly)

David Byrne long ago traded in commercial viability and his arsenal of big suits for a Panamanian accountant's wardrobe of sensible whites, an enigmatic collection of solo recordings, and a quirky reputation as rock's foremost authority on Yoruban dance. These days, the once-manic frontman, who helped to define the New York punk scene in the '70s with his synaptic convulsions and snarling vibrato, is content to serenade concertgoers with finely polished Whitney Houston covers ("I Wanna Dance With Somebody"), as he did during his last Fillmore visit.

Luckily, The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads, a live document first released in 1982 but only recently available on CD, captures Byrne and his fellow Heads at their frenetic best, tearing through gospel-infused classics like "Houses in Motion" and "Crosseyed and Painless" with a nervous ferocity that borders on some kind of transcendent musical anarchy. The expanded reissue, boasting more than 30 minutes of previously unreleased cuts and a pristine sound clarity, is an unmatched testament to the unit's prowess as a live act, surpassing even 1984's landmark Stop Making Sense.

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