Wednesday, September 02, 2009
My Own Kick
Here we go.
'Round these here parts we've got a little beatnik, bop-a-billy hoedown courtesy of Ronnie Self.
Coming from farming and railroadin' stock, Self displays a rebellious quality in his music, both against authority and against the conventions of so-called "common' or "small" life. His music is restless and wild, untamed to the point of punk-precedence, but wrapped in a hybrid Country, rockabilly, R&B, goin' nowhere, man, surge of desperation and rhythmic menace. One is almost forced to see a touch of Hasil Adkins(or, more appropriately, vice versa) in Self's style, hiccuped backwoods drawl forced into a strumming wild man on the loose.
To avoid repetition, we would very highly recommend checking out his bio over at Rockabilly Hall for a well-done overview of Self's life. Cat led an interesting life.
Some speculation exists as to why Self didn't make the big time in his lifetime, but we're,frankly, not surprised as sadly sad we must acknowledge that some visionaries can only be recognized in context and as a full body, And Self was a visionary, if only in that the sounds in his head, forced out through booze-fueled blasts of Honky scrawl, presaged an outlaw approach, years away and shaped in different tones of beer tavern tumble.
Two observations, then.
First, it would be be irresponsible of us not to note a similarity between Self and Roger Miller, a least in terms of vocal delivery, with their rapid-fire, trailer-beat, stung-out brand of hipster stream-of-consciousness. I wouldn't like to speculate if there was any influence one way or the other, but if you like Roger Miller, than Ronnie Self is right up your alley.
Second, Ronnie Self is probably more relevant today than he was in his lifetime. As our ears demand a more distinctive voice over time, Self's brand of hillbilly boogie junk seem revelatory, out of time and place and waiting for a new generation to discover. Maybe we're the ones.
We'd recommend any damn song by Ronnie Self, but we'll try to limit ourselves to four, since we're not one of those "full album" sites. "My Own Kick Going" is a frequent visitor in our ever-changing "top ten fave rave songs of all time". It's about a groover, man. "Go Go the Cannibal" is a trash rock masterpiece, well before it's time, and the Cramps and Hasil Adkins would have been proud to call this their own (maybe they have, I dunno). "About Cured" is the closest kin to Roger Miller, but it's got it's own twisted hillybilly bomp, and damn we love this song. And "Here Comes Authority" is big ol' fuck ya to the man. Amen.
Sing along! "The boat's on the river, the train's on the track, an' I'm without you, I guess you aint comin' back..."
Ronnie Self: My Own Kick Going (mp3)
Ronnie Self: Go Go The Cannibal (mp3)
Ronnie Self: About Cured (mp3)
Ronnie Self: Here Comes Authority (mp3)
While it's super keen that the world-wide internets, and it's system of tubes and wires provide us with a wealth of free music, please consider visiting your local, independent record store for some kick ass records you may or may not have heard.