alrighty, lets see if can get through this without resorting to the bog-standard hootin’ an’ a hollerin’ hard drinkin’ foot-stompin’ old fashioned yee-haw hoedown clichés or yawning on about dusty western vistas that writerly types resort to when spunking out words on this kindof thing. i’m using every last ‘g’ motherlovers and i don’t give a flying fucking fiddlestick who knows it.
yes indeedy, jack’s back with the appalachian crazy horse in tow again. i like what they do to him, in the same way crazy horse up mr neil young’s game. but this ain’t no backing band. it’s a proper collaboration. there’s a crazy balancing act going on, see-sawing and swinging around back and forth between jack rose’s takoma blues rags and the black twigs’ old-time swagger.
it’s a deliciously raw record, and the most hellfire rocking since the seven incher he recorded with the twigs last year (which is incidentally one of my all-time favourite pieces of tiny vinyl).
what i dig most about their work is: a) that they’re not in the thrall of the traditional, they’re not folkster academics engaged in some intellectual exercise, they’re not afraid to shake shit up and b) that they’re not a buncha nu-folk popsters or psyched out noisesters. it’s proper goddam traditional music but it ain’t looking to the past, or to the future. it’s the here and now and in the (and of the) bloody moment.
so eleven tracks. thirty eight minutes. singing (yup, actual singing), fiddle, banjo, harmonica, washboard, bones (bones?!?), slide and six string shenanigans.
the spontaneity comes across. it sounds like they’re playing in the next room, it sounds like they had one go at it and sure as buggery better make it count, it sounds like a band who’ve been honing their shit on the road for an age. razor sharp but loose as hell. probably helps that rose and gangloff worked together in pelt. so they de(re)construct bright sunny south from those heady times and give kensington blues a full band re-jig in amongst the standards.
and when all’s said and done, i love a song about murder you can dance to.
it’s hillbilly, it’s ragtime, it’s bluegrass, it’s rhythm, it’s blues, it’s the greatest bar-band you ever heard. it is whatever the fuck it is. and it is a joy from start to finish. good work fellas. see you in stereo!