My Weekly Reader

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My Weekly Reader
Studio album by Nellie McKay
Released 24 March 2015 (2015-03-24)
Recorded 2014–2015
Genre Pop, Jazz
Length 48:00
Label 429 Records
Producer
Nellie McKay chronology
Home Sweet Mobile Home
(2010)Home Sweet Mobile Home2010
My Weekly Reader
(2015)
Sister Orchid
2018Sister OrchidString Module Error: Match not found

My Weekly Reader is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Nellie McKay, consisting of covers of hits from the 1960s. The album entered the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, and garnered positive reviews upon its release.

Background and release[edit]

"My Weekly Reader is Nellie McKay's sixth album, and second cover album, following her Doris Day tribute album "Normal as Blueberry Pie."[1] The record consists entirely of covers of hits from the 1960s, including songs by Frank Zappa, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Moby Grape.[2] McKay enlisted Dweezil Zappa, Frank Zappa's son, to play guitar on her cover of his father's "Hungry Freaks, Daddy;" she also enlisted Bela Fleck to play banjo.[3] Geoff Emerick, who had produced McKay's debut album, "Get Away From Me," was enlisted to co-produce the album with McKay, as well.[2] The album was released physically and digitally[4] on March 24, 2015.[5] To promote the album, McKay performed at 54 Below in New York City.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic68/100[5]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[7]
CuepointA–[8]
PopMatters8/10 stars[9]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[10]

My Weekly Reader was met with mostly positive reviews from critics. On review aggregate website MetaCritic, the album holds a score of 68, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[5] In a positive review, PopMatters' Steve Horowitz awarded the album 8 stars (out of a possible 10), commenting that the album "kicks serious butt," and praising McKay's minimal changes to most of the compositions. Horowitz also praised the album's nostalgia, commenting that "McKay understands the complexity of the past and reveals her empathy for a more hopeful time when love and peace were fresh thoughts rather than a debased slogan."[9] Rolling Stone's review, written by Will Hermes, was similarly positive, calling McKay a "renegade songwriter with an ultraflexible Great American Songbook sensibility," also feeling that "her musical smarts add the context."[10] National Public Radio's review, penned by Ken Tucker, was positive towards the album as well, commenting that "there's a pleasing tension between the content of the lyric and the lovely purity of her vocals," and praising her modernization of some of the material.[2]

Some critics had more mixed feelings regarding the album. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, writing for AllMusic, felt that while McKay sometimes "achieves a delicate balance between '60s reverence and a sly modern wink, a blurring of eras that plays to her strengths," she had ultimately made "odd" song selections that he felt were poorly-modernized; Erlwine awarded the album 3 stars.[7] The Boston Globe's Marc Hirsch was also critical of the album, calling the production "flat and dull" and expressing mixed feelings over McKay's minimal changes to the songs.

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleOriginal performerLength
1."Sunny Afternoon"The Kinks3:09
2."Quicksilver Girl"Steve Miller Band3:09
3."Poor People/Justice"Alan Price3:36
4."Murder in My Heart for the Judge"Moby Grape5:30
5."Bold Marauder"Mimi and Richard Fariña3:49
6."Itchycoo Park"Small Faces3:27
7."Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter"Herman's Hermits2:12
8."Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine"Country Joe & the Fish5:16
9."If I Fell"The Beatles2:40
10."Red Rubber Ball"The Cyrkle3:37
11."Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying"Gerry and the Pacemakers2:26
12."Hungry Freaks, Daddy"Frank Zappa4:35
13."Wooden Ships"Crosby, Stills, & Nash4:34
Total length:48:00

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from AllMusic.[3]

Musicians

  • Béla Fleck — banjo
  • Bob Glaub — electric bass
  • Nellie McKay — bells, clarinet, congas, cymbals, harmonica, keyboards, maracas, marimbas, organ, piano, tambourine, ukelele, all vocals
  • Cary Park — banjo, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, steel guitar
  • David Raven — drums
  • Dweezil Zappa — guitar (on "Hungry Freaks, Daddy")

Production

  • Craig Parker Adams — assistant engineer
  • Greg Calbi — mastering
  • Geoff Emerick — engineering, mixing, production
  • Spencer Guerra — mixing
  • Nellie McKay — production

Design

  • David Alan Kogut — art direction, photography

Charts[edit]

Chart (2015) Peak
position
Billboard Heatseekers Albums[11] 15

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Nellie McKay's Love Letter To Doris Day Listen· 4:25". National Public Radio. World Radio Network. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Tucker, Ken. "Nellie McKay Celebrates The '60s With 'My Weekly Reader' Listen· 7:29". National Public Radio. World Radio Network. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "My Weekly Reader: Album Credits". AllMusic. RhythmOne. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  4. ^ ""My Weekly Reader" Release History". AllMusic. RhythmOne. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c ""My Weekly Reader" by Nellie McKay overview". MetaCritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Nellie McKay on New Album My Weekly Reader". NBC New York. NBC Universal. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Nellie McKay My Weekly Reader (review)". AllMusic. RhythmOne. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Expert Witness". Cuepoint. Retrieved September 2, 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Horowitz, Steve. "Nellie McKay My Weekly Reader (review)". PopMatters. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Hermes, Will. "Nellie McKay: My Weekly Reader (review)". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  11. ^ ""Nellie McKay" chart search". Billboard.Biz. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 14 February 2017.