If you recognize Jonathan Richman as the busker in the Farrelly Brothers’ There’s Something About Mary instead of as frontman of The Modern Lovers, (think The Velvet Underground without the heroin), or his prolific solo career, then it is high time you dug in.
Richman has released nearly a record annually since 1976; choosing one to start with may seem daunting. These three records will help provide the best representation of his massive catalog: The Modern Lovers; I, Jonathan; and his most recent release, O Moon, Queen of Night. The latter features rug-cutting rhythms driving the honest, surprising, and oftentimes hilarious songwriting that is his trademark. “My Affected Accent” triggers pangs of familiarity with anyone who has looked back in horror at failed attempts at individuality during their formative years: “I droned like William F. Buckley does/ I should have been bullied more than I was.” Richman last played St. Louis two years ago, delighting the crowd with his unrestrained joy and skillful, engaging performance. This time through, he brings drummer Tommy Larkins to help get the job done. Dance like you’re at a lesbian bar.