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MAXIM RAD (Buy CDs by this artist)
Times Ain't That Bad (Fr. Dreyfus) 1980
Old (Ger. Phonogram) 1993
This One's a Killer (UK Mercury) 1995
Maxim Rad Is Dead (Ger. Top International) 2001

Odd fella, this Rad; not all of the strange verbal juxtapositions can be ascribed to gaps in his fuzzy grasp of English. ("White Action, African Lemons"?) Rad, a German native resident in France, seems to want to be outré and often is, though he's more compelling when he stays direct. He gets a surprising amount of mileage out of a simple rock'n'roll/R&B format, thanks to darting, dirty-twanging guitar and hyperactive, fretless bass lines. Rad's vocal style offers hints of Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, alongside Van Morrison and Jackson Browne. After a breakdown like this, you could be excused for thinking Rad's just plain confused; what makes him worth hearing is that, on the contrary, he's pretty darn engaging.

And determined. And diverse. The 1993 album, Old (billed to "The Original Maxim Rad"), was produced in New Orleans with the venerable Allen Toussaint. This One's a Killer was smoothly produced by Clive Langer.

[Jim Green/Ira Robbins]