Highlights of my last week’s listenin’, in the truck cab and elsewhere, rated on a spin-the-bottle 10-point scale (w/a special touch). Also, I am deliberately diggin’ out dustbin doozies; please recall the Roger Price maxim, “If everyone doesn’t want it, nobody gets it!”:
ARE YOU FROM DIXIE: GREAT COUNTRY BROTHER TEAMS OF THE 1930S – 15 – Having trouble finding your way into old-timey music, seekers? Do it like I accidentally did 28 years ago, and dig up this can’t-stop-won’t-stop RCA comp. Across a single disc, the choices meet Harry Smith’s ANTHOLOGY even-up: you jake-walk on bad whiskey, chuckle along with your salty dog, get a line and go fer crawdads, stomp away an intoxicated rat, shoulder a nine-pound hammer, try to get your baby out of jail, and cozy up to someone ELSE from Dixie. It’s magic. Also: it needs a reissue. Extra bait: the Monroe Brothers, playing at punk tempos, inventing bluegrass as they go.
Catheters/STATIC DELUSIONS AND STONE-STILL DAYS – 9 – Best Stooges album since RAW POWER, not sure it’s been topped since its ’02 release, probably because these kids weren’t trying. Critically, only Greil Marcus gave a shit, and he was correct.
Julius Hemphill/JULIUS HEMPHILL PLAYS THE MUSIC OF ALLEN LOWE – 8.8 – I have sung the praises of Allen Lowe here multiple times, and if I ain’t convinced you yet, let the long-gone-but-not-forgotten sax master and arranging ace Mr. Hemphill do the honors. The record saunters through more rhythmic moves than has a cat on an easy chair (stole that from Roy Blount, Jr.), and closes up shop with the funky, greasy “Sleepless,” which justifies its title. (Note: there’s no tracks available via YouTube, so enjoy Hemphill’s amazing DOGON A. D. as a teaser. AND: grab the release from Bandcamp here, cheap!)
Mudboy and the Neutrons/NEGRO STREETS AT DAWN – 8.7 – Few but the likes of #JimDickinson (“The Pope of #Memphis Music”) could get away with the title reference/conceit, because he could put together the players. Chuck Berry-nugget opener, Sid Selvidge-crooned Southern stroke, surrender to capitalism loaded with subversive sermon lead off–sometimes I think they coulda topped ZZ Top if they’d cared.
Shaver/TRAMP ON YOUR STREET – 8.5 – Natural-born honky-tonk chronicler with hot-shit guitarist son as sidekick–some might call it schtick, but it’s by-God real. “Old Chunk of Coal,” “The Hottest Thing In Town,” and “Georgia on a Fast Train” are already playing a floor below Leonard Cohen’s in The Tower of Song. And closer to the ground floor is better.
Sun Ra/LANQUIDITY – 9 – Already in possession of 20+ “Sun One” records, I thought I’d heard all I needed. This late ’70s release almost goes disco–almost–without compromising the vision that kept a team of jazz aces together through five decades. Blaxploitation music with a more exalted vision–I dunno: YOU listen and YOU describe it. You will be better for it, whatever the outcome.