If you’ve heard The Devil’s Buttermilk before, you know it’s a bit of a different record in the Preacher Boy canon. In my mind, it’s almost a sort of collection of shorts, combined into a larger, longer film. Every song was really recorded to be its own self-contained universe, it’s own completed circle. The songs seemed to ask for that, and so that’s what I did. There is very little sonic continuity from song to song; this one is lighting fast and loaded with electric guitars, that one is soft, quiet, acoustic. This one is whispery and spooky and moody, that one is full bore and monstrous.
The album is populated with a lot of different characters. The destructive, white -trash-noir anti-hero of “On and on it goes,” the cracked Wiseblood-ian preacher of “Glory Man,” Patrick Jones, whose white bones close “The Dogs,” the neighborhood drunk in “Spaceman,” and more.
The theatricality and comparatively complicated instrumentation has meant that these songs don’t get played live very often—some of them I’ve never played live. But recently, I’ve committed to working out arrangements of a great many songs that I haven’t given much stage time to, and songs from The Devil’s Buttermilk are looming large on that list. Last night I played “On and on it goes,” “Rust,” and “Spaceman.” Two of those I’ve NEVER played live before, and “Spaceman” I haven’t performed live in over a decade. It was an adventurous evening.
Here’s a raw and straight-from-the-stage recording of “Spaceman” from last night:
if you don’t see the embedded media player above, please click below to stream:
Preacher Boy – Spaceman [LIVE]
(lyrics are at the bottom of this post)
The whole show was a bit of a journey song-wise … a pretty diverse mix of country blues workouts, and a great many album tracks I don’t often play. Here’s the whole set list:
- if i had possession over my judgement day (robert johnson)
- rollin’ stone (rev. robert wilkins)
- evil blues (mance lipscomb)
- rust (from “the devil’s buttermilk”)
- levee camp blues (fred mcdowell)
- my gold canoe (from “demanding to be next”)
- black crow (from “crow”)
- gun (from “gutters & pews”)
- jake j. thomas’ ol’ mission st blues (new)
- catfish (willie doss)
- chop wood, carry water (new)
- that’s no way to get along (rev. robert wilkins)
- down south blues (sleepy john estes)
- my car walks on water (from “the national blues”)
- nehemiah james (from “demanding to be next”)
- down and out in this town (from “gutters & pews”)
- spaceman (from “the devil’s buttermilk”)
- on and on it goes (from “the devil’s buttermilk”)
- change (from “demanding to be next”)
- setting sun (from “the national blues”)
- motherless children (blind willie johnson/mance lipscomb/dave van ronk)
- a little better when it rains (from “demanding to be next”)
Finally, here are the lyrics to Spaceman, if you want to read along!