Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Blue Jumped The Rabbit
Just out of curiosity, what exactly is a "fruited plain"?
Thanks to all those who sent yr demo's our way. Response has been pretty massive, so we're still working our way through 'em. If you haven't heard from us yet, please be patient, we'll get back to all y'all. And the call for submissions is still open, and will continue to be so, so send us yr lo-fi, bargain basement demo. Your next great honky tonk/rock'n'roll/blues/trash hit can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can't believe it's been 10 years since the release of our fave rave Fat Possum record, Takes One To Know One by Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early. And to celebrate, we've got a brand spankin' new 10", American Made, from Elmo and Hezekiah, courtesy of Big Legal Mess Records.
If you're not familiar with Williams and Early, the first thing you should know is that this aint no pussy ass watered down blues ala Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King. No sir, this is Natchez,Mississippi jukejoint Blues: raw, primal and with shouty bits.
Both Williams and Early were well known around Mississippi and Louisiana dives for years (Williams was born in 1933, Early in 1934), with Williams cutting his teeth at the legendary Haney's Big House and Early befriending the likes of Papa George Lightfoot and Muhammad Ali (!?!), before forming his own combo Hezekiah and the Houserockers.
Somehow Bruce Watson over at Fat Possum got a notion these two fellers would make some pretty swell noise together, and we ended up with one of the best Blues records of the past 30 years.
What we get on "Takes One To Know One" is a primal howl. Elmo Williams pulls off shreds of nasty, distorted blues junk from a guitar that one can only imagine has been greatly abused, with tuning a mere afterthought, if a thought at all. Tin and mud. Grease and garbage. Early's drumming is tribal, pure rhythm and mayhem, led by the pelvic thrust of sex and need. Low and dirty, snapped trap set teetering on the edge, Early provides the muscular thrust to Williams' songs. Look to "Mother's Dead" below for especial proof of Early's genius.
And then Williams sings. It's not a voice god would ordain. A rumbling yelp, a shout to the devil. Desperation and lust. A true filth and fury.
The whole record puts the Blues pretenders to shame, particularly the Jon Spencer/20 Miles faction of white-boy ironic blues. It's Blues the way the devil intended, pure rhythm and holler. Some other Mississippi-based Blues musicians have made a case for genius around a trance-like style (the majestic Junior Kimbrough), but Williams and Early make the case for Blues as a surging force, the banks of the Mississippi overrun, and there's a fire in the valley.
Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early's new record, "American Made" is pretty goddamn kick-ass too. It's out now, it's brand new, it's a nice bookend to a classic dropped on us 10 years ago. Check it out.
From "Takes One To Know One":
Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early: Blue Jumped The Rabbit (mp3)
Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early: Hoopin' and Hollerin' (mp3)
Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early: Mother's Dead (mp3)
From the new 10" record, "American Made":
Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early: Bigged Legged Woman (mp3)
Elmo Williams and Hezekiah Early: USA (mp3)
Please support your local, independent tub thumpers and guitar shouters.