Friday, January 28, 2011

When The Devil Calls

Major announcement today!!!!  First, a few similarly related items:

-Alive Records have announced three upcoming records that y'all should be a-twitter about:  T-Model Ford and Gravel Road's "Taledragger" Left Lane Cruiser's "Junkyard Speed Ball", and James Leg's (of Black Diamond Heavies) solo rekkid.    Man, 2011's already setting up to pretty keen.

-The new record by Black Pistol Fire is way, way better than anyone had any right to expect.  It's killer, no less.  Highly recommended.  

-The new Wanda Jackson record is terrible.  Embarrassing, even.   Just poorly executed, with bad choices made on instrumentation, arrangements, song selection, etc.  I blame Jack White, naturally.  He did a great job on the Loretta Lynn record, but this is just really undeserving of Wanda Jackson's great legacy.  Ugh.  Might get around to a proper review shortly (or not), but do yourselves a favor...Pick up Wanda's brilliant back catalog, and avoid this new travesty altogether.  Just sayin'...

Now then....the big announcement!  The Deep Blues Festival is Back!  

Yup, after a year off, the Deep Blues Festival is back in 2011.  It'll take place on July 16th, in Cleveland Ohio, at the great tavern,  The Beachland Ballroom.  It'll be at the obscenely low price of $20 for 12 (or more) great bands!  There's an Amtrak station in Cleveland, and hotel fare is cheap, cheap, cheap.

The Deep Blues Fest was the brainchild of his very godfatherliness, Chris Johnson, and enjoyed several years of amazing festivals in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area.  We were lucky to have attended the last DBF, in which our minds were blown by such artists as T-Model Ford, Black Diamond Heavies, Left Lane Cruiser, Ten Foot Polecats, Pure Country Gold, Bloody Ol' Mule, Illinois John Fever, The Speaking Tongues, Reverend Deadeye, Robert Cage, Elmo Williams, CeDell Davis, Mississippi Gabe Carter, Jim Mize, Chooglin', and tons of others.  It was, as I've elucidated elsewhere, a glorious event.

And then...silence.  The event was not attended in numbers that could support the vision.  It was a shame.  To a fan such as I, it was depressing.  People would overpay for corporate events such as Lollapalooza and Coachella, but would ignore events that took us to our primal roots like the Deep Blues Fest.  What to do?

Chris Johnson went on to open up a BBQ and music joint, Bayport BBQ.  Which, frankly, sounds like a year-long Deep Blues party, and a place we are planning a road trip to this summer.  The Muddy Roots Festival stepped in and provided an amazing festival diversion, and did it very, very well.  But, and but...the tag "Deep Blues Festival" was missing from the radar...

And then came Jim Chilson of the Ten Foot Polecats and Ted Drozdowski of The Scissormen,  who banged their heads together and decided that it was time to revive the Deep Blues Festival, and take it into uncharted territory.  With Chris Johnson and Rick Saunders (the Jesus to Chris' God) assuming spiritual advisory status,  Jim and Ted have assembled a superb lineup of bands and artists, guaranteed to kick yr ass, and have forged ahead with the Deep Blues ecstasy.

We can't wait.  And there are more plans afoot after this...

We hope everyone stopping by here will consider attending The Deep Blues Festival 2011We're working on some special promo's for the show (free stuff!), but the music should be the primary focus.  This is a labour of love, consarnit, and a howl against the blandness of yr regularly scheduled "sponsored" music fest.  Tickets are cheap, and go directly to the bands, hotel lodging is cheap, transportation is cheap (if you take the train, which all Blues lovers should be keen to do), and the music and night will be priceless.

If you can't make the show, please consider making a donation to the Festival.  All money donated goes right to the bands...this is a "socialist" enterprise, of sorts.  No one is making money off this but the bands themselves.  So please..come and enjoy some great music...keep the movement (whatever that is) alive.  Donations can be sent here.

We're gonna be featuring each of the bands over the next many months as we work towards the Festival.  And we're gonna have some exclusive Big Rock Candy Mountain shit to give away to folks who attend or donate, so stay tuned. 

To start off, you can download some Ten Foot Polecats tunes from a previous post here.  As a bonus, here's a couple of tracks from The Scissormen. 

We're gonna have full posts and interviews with all the bands scheduled, over the next 6 months, so stay tuned...

The Scissormen: Whiskey and Maryjane (mp3)

The Scissormen: When The Devil Calls (mp3)

What more can we say?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let The Redeemed Say So

Time to get sanctified today, with our first proper entry of the New Year, and with a record that's sure to keep your turntable warm throughout the winter and all the way to the end of the year.  Oh, yes indeedy.  Our first great rekkid of 2011!

But first, we would advise folks to bookmark our new mirror site.   It's still under a bit of construction, but if for some reason this here site disappears due to recent crankiness by the major labels and their attack on music fans, we've taken precautions to have an alternate site to go to.  Again, and we can't say this enough, please update yr bookmarks.  This here "blogger" url will remain the primary site for the time being, but one never knows. 

Now then, when we say we're gonna get sanctified today, we aint just whistlin' hosanna past the graveyard.  The almighty Big Legal Mess has got a new record out by the one and only Reverend John Wilkins.  It's called "You Can't Hurry God", and it's whole big mess o' hallelujah stomp. 

Reverend John Wilkins is the son of legendary blues man Robert Wilkins,  and they say still waters run deep, but the waters are moving like a pentecostal baptismal on fire, and run deep blues, baby. 

Wilkins brings a Mississippi hill country trance to the dirty gospel, and Soul, good Soul, where the spirit is lifted and swayed in secular and salvation. 

Kicking off with the slow burning, Hammond-tricked  title track, "You Can't Hurry God", the record proceeds to rocket to heaven on the subsequent track, "Jesus Will Fix It",  just about a mover, rhythmic and fish-slapped trap kit drums, scratched and bbq'd geetar slinking around like a bad sin.  And Wilkins voice is a holy Blues prophet, grizzled and hollerin', soulful and muddy rooted.  God moving along the face of jukejoint, and the slow surging monster of the Mississippi. 

The record continues to roll and tumble from there...classics such as "You Got To Move" and "Prodigal Son" mystify and swirl, shake yr ass and kneel yr knees, quivered and backslid.  Chicken-clawed ramblers like "Let The Redeemed Say So" and hypnotic back-porch ruminations like "Thank You Sir" add to the mystical mystique, calming the wheat and raising the cane, the chaff whipping in the wind.  Sing me back home, indeed. 

The highlight, in our humble opinion, is "I Want You To Help Me",  a surging, Hammond-greased masterpiece of deliverance,  all groove and swayback holler, a party in paradise, where the lights are low and the altar is in neon, and the dirt floor trampled by epiphany.

Wilkins' voice, the very sound of repent personified, is the highlight of it all, of course, a lost crackle in heaven's transistor. 

At the end of the day it's a road to glory tabernaclin' sweatbox of a gospel record,  sex and salvation swing low, big tent revival meetin' hootenanny.  The path to salvation starts here.

We're callin' it early, but if there's one album you buy this year...well, just listen to the track below.

Reverend John Wilkins: I Want You To Help Me (mp3)

Please support yr local, independent Big Tent Revival. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two Six Packs Away

Welcome back, happy campers.  Let's get 2011 goin'

Most of our links in our final Top 10 list for 2010 are back up.  We've narrowed down the culprit that led to our DMCA takedown notice.  We'll have more to say about it shortly.

Workin' on a post about the first great record of 2011.  Should be up early next week (we're gonna try real hard for at least a couple posts a week...see how long we last..).

But until then, and for yr wintry weekend, how about a quick Six Pack of tunes guaranteed to keep yr vehicle veering round the icy interstate?

Yeah, this is pretty irresponsible, but what the hell.  Let's let these folks take you down  down a wobbly highway, white lines blurring, and eyes all a'twitter.  What do we love best 'round these parts?  Well, here ya go...

Dave Dudley: Two Six Packs Away (mp3)

Tom Hyatt and The Black Mountain Boys: My Benny's Wearing Off  (mp3)

Hank Thompson: A Six Pack To Go (mp3)

Willis Brothers: Alcohol and #2 Diesel (mp3)

Gary Stewart: Caffeine Nicotine Benzedrine (And Wish Me Luck) (mp3)

The Byrds: Drug Store Truck Driving Man (mp3)

Let's hope MADD aint payin' attention...Please support yr local.  If ya know what we mean...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

And They All Led Me Straight Back Home To You

Important Update:  We Have Received a Take Down Notice from blogger for one or more tracks on this post.  We're pretty damn sure we know which artist was the offended party (hmmm...could it be the major label act?).  But until we find out which track caused someone millions of dollars in lost revenue, we've removed all sample mp3's.  We'll be contacting most of the artists on this list to make sure it wasn't them.  As we find out who's safe, we'll be adding the sample mp3's back to this post.  We apologize for this inconvenience to y'all, and we apologize to the artist who's life we've ruined by encouraging folks to listen to their music.  Again, please check back over the next couple of days for the return of the "safe" music samples.  We'll have a lot more to say about this in a week or so.  And please continue to support independent artists...we're pretty sure they don't mind people hearing their tunes and buying their records. 

And here it is.  Part 4 of our countdown of our Favorite Records of 2010!  This is the Top 10, so brace yourselves for some sonic tastiness.  We're certain we've missed a ton of great records, but that's just how it is.  If we've missed a favorite of yours, let us know.  And, of course, take a look at our previous few posts to see what else we dug this year.

A few  records showed up at our door on New Year's Eve from a notoriously slackerly record label that we love dearly, which was way too late to include in this list, but we're guessing at least one of 'em will show up on next year's list.  And we also have a "mystery" advance CD-R of a record that should be on this list, but that album's  been delayed, and we're not allowed to talk about itWe promise that once we get the go-ahead from the record label that sent it to us, we're gonna gush like a geyser, so keep yr ears tuned. 

So whatta we got today? One  major label record. Three 7 inchers.  Nine Independent label releases.  A lotta Country and Deep Blues.  Some Trash.  Some Soul.  Albums from some of our favorite record labels.  Yep, that sounds about right for this here little corner of the world.

There's a twist to this final Top 10.  We simply felt a "ranking" in this instance was ridiculous.  How the hell do we discern the difference between, say, a #7 and a #6?  Well, we can't, and we're not gonna do it.  Consider each and every one of the following records as the #1 Record Of The Year.  We might secretly have a personal pick for which of these was our very favorite, but we aint tellin'. 

We've already got the next great record of 2011 on tap, and some long overdue Deep Blues interviews to share, so keep coming back for more.  Here's hopin' this New Year will be a busier time here at The Mountain.  That's our resolution.

And, as ever, most of these tracks are ripped from vinyl.  So take that into account.  

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Favorite Records of 2010, Part 4
The Top 10 (In alphabetical-ish order)

catl.: With The Lord For Cowards You Will Find No Place

A glorious start to our Top 10.  We can't even begin to give this record justice in a mere few written words.  Here's our attempt, when we interviewed 'em earlier this year:

"catl's got some nasty voodoo in 'em, a trio of shakers and shimmy-down low. Swamp-bottom surge and cracked-wall shanty groove, a speakeasy stomp and lord let it rain cuz the devil's in the strings and there's fire in them there fields.

Got a hootenanny on wax, then, a band with a wail for a whisper and sour-mashed guts, preaching the circuit and electric mainline juice flowing the darkest veins. Singer/guitarist catl, himself, breaks down banks of mighty Mississippi, mudded and souled, dirt on the strings from the very crossroads, a voice that yowls and drives, swing low sweet Cadillac. Drummer Johnny LaRue is a tribal leader, pounding and fucking the kit like sex-mad demon, all rhythmic pagan-blues ritual. And Sarah Kirkpatrick rattles and cooks, greasy organ, moon-madness maracas on amphetamines, and called-out vocal response and chant.

It's a shimmy-she-wobble, then, amped and driving, straight to the end of times, baptized in the waters of Babylon, and the lord sayeth, repent."
You really need to own this record.  It's very highly possible that this is our true #1 record of the year.  Just sayin...

catl.: Working Man Soul (mp3)

Walter Daniels and the Gospel Clodhoppers: Harmonica! 7"

You already know Walter Daniels.   Big Foot Chester, '68 Comeback, South Filthy, Jack O'Fire....those are just a few of the bands he's led or been or associated with. 

A masterful and grease-soaked harmonica player, with his feet planted firmly in a mutated Blues and Country tradition, Daniels' body of work is a testament to the underground "old, weird America" aesthetic, grimy'n'dirt-clogged and junk-yard rusted.

On this 7" (which is sold out in vinyl form, but can be purchased digitally here), Daniels enlists the aid of folks like John Schooley, Jeff Pinkus, Ralph White, and the helium-twanged Texacala Jones, for two tunes that shake yr heathen soul back to dirt floor roots.  And sometimes all you need is two songs, the argument for the 7". 

And, yes, the following track is supposed to sound like that


Guinea Worms: Sorcererers Of Madness (4rd Year In A Row!)

This is a double LP gatefold sprawl of a record.  In the tradition of the old "psych" gatefolds of the late 60's and early 70's, this album is all over the place, and in a very good way.  From murmered grimey trash workouts, fucked-up sleaze, to country-fried blooze booze blasts, a transmission from static AM dashboard flickered neon motel pool cleaner.

A guaranteed classic that folks will be talking about years from now.  Set the lo-fi standard (whatever that is) and dial out the lines, in waves and revolution, between the grooves, the crackled fuzz, the concrete street as kudzu substitute, drop a tab and drop out baby in a frenzy.  The happening now...


Halden Wofford And the Hi-Beams: Saints & Sinners

Quite possibly, actually certainly, the best honky tonk band you've never heard of.  Which is a shame, since this band has consistently strode mightily across the floorboards and mountain stages of the West, breaking yr heart and swinging yr ass in a two step old as the hills.  From Halden's hiccuped yodel of a voice, to Ben O'Connor slapped stand-up bass (and occasional vocal), to Bret Billings steel-guitar genius,  the Hi-Beams make Country the way god intended it.

On this record, the band pulls in even more elements to their sound, adding some 70's outlaw hoe-down, sweeping steel-soaked Western balladry, and even an experimental take on the great Americana poets of our time.  But at the heart, the beating honky tonk heart,  this is a sepia-toned, boom chicka thrill of a Country record.  This band deserves to be on every Country lover's playlist.  Do yourself a favor.

We're gonna have a full review, and an interview, coming up.  But why wait?  It's essential.  

Halden Wofford And The Hi-Beams: Mauvais Song (mp3)

Halden Wofford And The Hi-Beams: Till Night Is Through (mp3)

Jamey Johnson: The Guitar Song

Well.  Lookee here.  A major label record.  And worth every goddamn bit of hype thrown it's way.  You had George Jones.  You had Willie and Johnny and Waylon.  You had Townes.  You had Mr. Steve Earle.  You had James Hand and Hayes Carll.  And now, it's Jamey Johnson.  And his name deserves to be in that group. 

There's nothing assembly-line Nashville about this record.  It's a hard-lived, hard-drunk travelogue into the very soul of Country music.  The proverbial bad boy, shit kicking his way to the top with keenly bloodshot eyes cast at life lived.  The music is pure honky tonk, the voice is as aged as moonshine, and the record is a revelation of worn-heart highway pavement.

Seriously, just listen to it.

King Lee (w/Quintron): Tire Shop 7" 

A big slow jam, with yr jacked car jumpin', from the mind of Mr. Quintron and King Lee himself.  According to Quintron, here's who King Lee was:

"He was a man of the streets who lived by his wits.  He would do whatever just to survive. I never knew him to have a real nine-to-five job where he wore a uniform, but he was always around the St. Claude Tire Shop. We struck up a friendship years ago. He has a really great syrupy voice.  When he talks, it's like music."
Yr summer busted radiator, then, a hosed-down, bust tire thumper.  Apparently "all the extra clanky sounds are samples from the actual tire shop"

King Lee w/ Quintron: Tire Shop Part 1 (mp3)

Jim Mize: Drunk Moon Falling 7"

Welll, you know by now how much we love Jim Mize.  With this 7", he's put out the best work of his career, and that's sayin' something.  With last year's #1 John Paul Keith playing along, Mize lays down some stark hardscrabble Country Blues, stripping bare a soul with a howl and laid waste.  The title track, "Drunk Moon Falling" , is a revelatory act of storytelling, heartbreaking and midnight-ready, organ and guitar godhead backdropping Mize's voice and lyrics.  I won't post it here.  You need to own it.  Just do it.  The B-side, "I Won't Come Back Again" is equally brilliant.  Consider it a teaser. 

Jim Mize: I Won't Come Back Again (mp3)

Possessed By Paul James: Feed The Family

Big stompabilly hootenanny, and seemingly personal, a cacophany of punk blooze strum and foot pound rattling.   Banjo madness.  Fiddle de diddle and drop down boogie.  Everything you want for yr Texas sand-blasted fire pit, back porch shindig.

A full review and interview coming up...

Possessed By Paul James: Four Men From The Row (mp3)

Pure Country Gold: Tough Tuesday

Another band we've ranted about endlessly.  For good reason. And this record is prime Pure Country Gold.  Patrick Foss is a Soul singer at heart, and guitar mangler of the highest order.  Jake Welliver beats the drums like Satan on holiday in a brothel, primal and full of rhythmic lust.  But don't take our word for it.  Take our word for it from a previous post: 
"Pure Country Gold is pure trash. Tasty, nasty and loud. And sleazy. Sleazy like the barroom floor at last call, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here, and who're you gonna pick up to take home for a quick rut just to say your weekend wasn't a total waste, burning sensation be damned...Yeah, it's that good. ...It's complete (glorious, sonic) junk masquerading with a name designed to confuse. But, they've got that sensibility, if you know what we mean...Imagine some urban cowboy wandering into a local jukejoint only to be faced with this glorious racket, shit-amped guitars through busted speakers, some guy hollerin' wounded goat over the bluespunk mess. Feller would probably crap his Lee's...Hyper-amped, garage-fuelled, amphetamine muckity muck. "
Man, this record's gonna kick yr ass.

Pure Country Gold: Wasted Day (mp3)

Ten Foot Polecats: I Get Blamed For Everything I Do 

We reviewed this earlier this year.  I don't think we could say it any better now.  If you don't own this record, what's wrong with you?

"The record kicks off with a couple of defining tunes.  "Chicken Headed Man" is a T-Model Ford (who they've played with) joint that the Polecats own, paying both homage and laying down a gauntlet, beat this, motherfucker.  Chilson's guitar is a surging travelouge of juke-floor shanty hypnosis,  Scheffler intones a bourbon-braised bbq yowl, and Darling is tribal Spam, spare and primordial.  They follow this burner up with "So Good To Me", a swaying, gauzey, mud-bottom drone of a love letter ("you make me want to be good to you baby"), late-nite booze pleading and booty call-ready.

The template is set, and the record rockets on from there.

Travel is a common theme, with tunes like
"Tears On My Windshield" (a Mississippi raver),  "Couple More Miles" (a lights on the empty highway, 2 A.M.,shimmered ,hypnotic and menacing beauty..."you can't do what I do/and expect everybody to like it"), and one of our favorites, "Big Road", which races like smokestack lightning past lakes and rivers lit with oil-stained fire.

Tracks like the
"I'm Going Crazy", "Bar Hoppin",  and  "Dryspell" are the logical conclusion to the mystery of where Punk and Blues met, and what crossroads they found themselves at, each song a raging, amps to 11 swirl of R.L. Burnside meets Howlin' Wolf meets Hank Williams meets The Sonics meets Billy Childish.   Yet doesn't sound like any of 'em, leastaways not any of 'em by themselves.

Throughout the record guitarist Jim Chilson gives a fuckin' clinic on the greasy, fried frenzy 6-string dragger, from meditative, open-spaced Southern back-road space-blues like
"So Good To Me", "Brokenhearted", and "Couple More Miles" to tight-fisted trashcan clap-trappers that take up the rest of the record.  He's a man to watch, as he feels each groove, seemingly in his very soul, sweating out each electified, gutter trash, shattered string-fest.  And Jay Scheffler's vocals are a revelation, channeling Howlin' Wolf in his most primal and menacing, a glass-gargled whiskey glass of Blues 'n' Booze need and desperation, alternately pleading and demanding, full of the vinegar of life and the very love of loss.

And goddam, indeed.  Check it out...both songs.

Ten Foot Polecats: Big Road (mp3)

Ten Foot Polecats: Couple More Miles (mp3)

There you have it.  Hope y'all approve, and support the artists, whether through record sales or a live show or both.  We'll be back with more good shit shortly.