Besides my usual 50 credits, this month includes 15 additional ones eMusic gave me as “loyal mebmer.” eMusic caught a lot of flack last year when it changed their its pricing structure, but to their credit they’ve given us loyal members similar bonuses two or three times. So, thanks.
* Varieties of Religious Experience: 1993-2003 by Arrington de Dionyso and the Old Time Relijun. While writing my recent review of The Movie Star Junkies’ A Poison Tree, I started Googling around looking for rock bands that had covered William Blake poems. There I discovered “Tyger” by this band. I’ll stand by my description that it sounds like Roy Orbison on angel dust.
That was interesting enough for me to download the whole album. This is a fun little distillation of lots of classic avant, primitive rock. I hear Beefheart. I hear Ubu. I hear some Thinking Fellers. And there’s a definite No-Wave influence here. Whoever’s playing that sax owes James Chance some royalties.
Old Time Relijun is a creature of K Records up in Olympia, Washington. So I’m probably hearing a little Twin Peaks mushroom madness in there too.
The Raunch Hands were a rootsy little outfit, playing hard-charging whacked out punk blues back in the ’80s before many people were doing that.
This 1995 release was the Raunch Hand’s last album for Crypt Records. They were getting close to breaking up, but the group sounds like they were having the time of their lives recording it.
My favorites here are “Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes,” a hilarious rewrite of “Baby Let Me Follow You Down.” “What’s the Matter Now” is a soul workout with touches of crazed gospel energy. This might be what the Almighty Defenders were aiming at on their Punk gospel” album.
Mark Sultan, aka BBQ, meets Bloodshot Bill for a rollicking half-hour of Canadian trash rockabilly. This is unabashed bashing fun. The sound is closer to what you’d hear on a Bloodshot Bill album than to King Khan & BBQ. It’s less scatological and more traditional rockabilly sounding.
My one complaint is that Sultan’s amazing voice isn’t at full force here. He does channel Buddy Holly on the tune “Worried Man.” and does a respectable job on the countryish “Until I Die.” But nowhere does his voice really soar.
* $ by Mark Sultan So if you want more Sultan, check out $, his latest solo album, which was released earlier this year. Not only will you hear more Sultan, you’ll get a greater diversity of sound.
Compared with his previous solo album, The Sutanic Verses, $ is far more experimental. For instance the kick-off cut, “Icicles” is a 6-plus minute opus with a lengthy instrumental section marked by layers of fuzz guitars and faux Mideastern sounds . Is BBQ going prog rock? Naw, the album retains an admirable home-made, blues-slop appeal.
* The 64 remaining tracks from Hillbilly Classics. This collection has to be my eMusic find of the year. It’s a 73-song collection of mostly obscure country tunes from the ’40s and ’50s and it costs only 12 credits. I picked up nine songs last month, so these 64 tracks only cost me three credits.
Several tunes on my latest podcast Hillbilly Pig Out — “Give it To Me Daddy” by Hartman’s Heartbreakers, “Nothin; Clickin’ Chicken” by The Down Homers and “Who Puts the Cat Out When Papa’s Out of Town” by Sam Nichols came from this collection. And I’ve been playing lots of it on The Santa Fe Opry in the past few weeks.
There are a few well-known artists here. There’s pre-Nashville Sound Chet Atkins (doing “Boogie Man Boogie”), The Carter Family, Spade Cooley and Tennessee Ernie Ford. But for every Delmore Brothers or Grandpa Jones, there’s five or six like Roy Hogsed or Smoky Wood & The Woodchips. This almost is a secret history of country music. Truly, this is the music Nashville would like you to forget.
* “Navajo” and “Wild Texas” by Los Peyotes. These are the two tracks I didn’t already have on the Psychotic Reaction EP by South America’s Los Peyotes. “Navajo” is an instrumental “surf” rocker in the tradition of “Apache,” except it’s got a flamenco (!) finale. “Wild Texas” is a cool fuzz ‘n’ Farfisa rocker Los Peyotes do so well. The band has a new album called Garaje o Muerte coming out at the end of the month.
* “Ducken” by Hasil Adkins from 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rockabilly Rare Masters. Here’s another cool bargain collection from eMusic — 56 tracks for 12 credit. I had only one credit left, so I made a “down payment.” I hope the rest of it’s as fun as this Hasil track. He does a pretty good impersonation of a police siren here.