Born in 1950, Larry 'Ratso' Sloman jokes that this album could earn him an award as the oldest best new recording artist ever.
He is better known as a cult author, music journalist and proud possessor of a Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Deviance and Criminology.
Further claims to fame largely centre on his close friendships with Bob Dylan, Lee Ranaldo and John Cale. He was also a confidante of Leonard Cohen, a drinking partner of Charles Bukowski and has worked as a ghost writer on best-selling memoirs for a wide range of characters including Anthony Kiedis, David Blaine and Howard Stern.
He earned his nickname when Joan Baez likened his bedraggled appearance to that of the deadbeat drifter Ratso Rizzo played by Dustin Hoffman in the Oscar-winning 1969 movie 'Midnight Cowboy'.
Of course, none of this guarantees the success of his first foray into music making and in fairness he makes no claims to be a great singer or musician. This only begs the question as to why the album got made at all and why anyone should bother to hear it.
Sloman speaks rather than sings and for the most part the nine songs are merely lame pastiches of Cohen and Dylan. For instance, in the smoldering exotica of I Want Everything he openly apes Cohen's phrasing with a check list of feasible and fantastic desires such as "breakfast in bed and the dreams from your head".
In the past Sloman has co-written with John Cale and contributed lyrics for the song Dying On The Vine which he takes the liberty of covering here. This, alongside a duet with Nick Cave for Our Lady Of Love piques the interest mildly but the listener's patience is sorely tested with the ultimate self indulgence of a pointless twelve minute version of Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands featuring vocals from Cohen’s muse Sharon Robinson.
Sloman's standing as a cultural figure is beyond question but his belated debut feels like little more than an elaborate vanity project.
Larry 'Ratso' Sloman's website