Preacher Boy – The Rumble Strip
Coming September 23!
Pre-order on Amazon TODAY!
Coming September 23!
Pre-order on Amazon TODAY!
“The point is, if you hear Blues Musicians writing and singing about the same old thing over and over, that’s not universal truth, that’s just willful mediocrity.”
As an old acquaintance used to say, here’s a lil’ somethin’ from the wee bully pulpit:
Great Blues Music is NOT about the things we ALL share and experience. To borrow a concept from the late, great Cultural Anthropologist Alan Dundes, Great Blues Music is not some sort of catalog of jump rope rhymes that transcend geography to express a kind of universal unconsciousness.
Rather, Blues Music is about the totally unique, personalized, rough-hewn translation of immediate experience into an almost haiku-esque poetic form. Put another way, it’s about musician’s turning their lives, and the lives around them, into song, with a Haiku master’s flair for capturing direct and immediate experience.
Think of Charley Patton’s “High Water Everywhere.” Sleepy John Estes’ “Fire Department Blues.” Skip James’ “Washington D.C. Hospital Bed Blues.” These songs represent the very best of what Blues Music is capable of.
Robert Pete Williams once said his songs came to him on the wind. Bukka White famously called his songs “Sky Songs” because they came to him from out of the sky.
The point is, if you hear Blues Musicians writing and singing about the same old thing over and over, that’s not universal truth, that’s just willful mediocrity.
Release Date: 2.1.18
“Black Market Crow” is a legacy edition offering from Coast Road Records, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the original release of Preacher Boy’s groundbreaking album “Crow.” This special collection features eight remastered tracks from the original album, plus seven never-before-available outtakes.
Originally released in the UK in 1998, “Crow” was by every measure the most ambitious album of Preacher Boy’s career. Featuring the virtuoso talents of The Backyard Funeral Band (Daniel Andrews, Brendan Rush Dance, Paul Johnson, and Danny Uzilevsky), the album offered a multi-instrumental soundscape that pulled together elements of blues, folk, jazz, and rock to provide a darkly textured complement to Preacher Boy’s rough-edged vocal delivery. The songs featured lyrically brooding narratives, with a dark theatricality that lent a junkyard noir effect to album as a whole. Famed music publication Melody Maker perhaps captured the album’s eclecticism best when they published the following review of “Crow”: “Country blues that marry Nick Cave, Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie and Tom Waits, honeymoon in the barroom with accordions and banjos and line the wedding bed with sheets of mutant folk, deviant campfire country and beatnik jazz.”
Despite earning some of the best reviews of Preacher Boy’s career, the album ultimately got lost in an unfortunate series of record label shuffles. It was never released beyond a small geographic circle, and ultimately went out of print. Not only would the songs on the official release disappear into the past, but so too would a number of outstanding outtakes.
The release of this legacy edition marks the first opportunity for Preacher Boy fans to finally acquire remastered tracks from the original release, as well as a selection of never-before-released outtakes.
The original artwork that graces the cover is by artist Amy Marinelli.
For 364 days, I have been writing about albums that have moved me in my life. And today, finally, it comes to an end. Day 365.
I have been thinking for a long time about how I should end this series.
Ultimately, I realized that this whole effort has been one long celebration of beauty; the beauty of artistic creation, and the sharing of it with others who will hopefully be moved, as I have been moved.
I am still stunned by how many have followed along as this series has progressed—literally thousands of you. Thank you to each and every one of you.
I can think of no better way to distill down the essence of what this effort has been all about, than to present as a final recommendation, an album that is in itself a distillation, down to the bare essentials of artistic creation.
Here, we have just a poet, and his words. No adornment of any kind.
And yet, the album is mysterious, ambitious, and so, so beautiful.
In less than 24 hours from now, in California, where I live, it will be 2018. Someone else will perhaps take up the challenge in the new year, and recommend 365 more wonderful albums. As for me, I am now done.
And so, with that, this series goes gentle into that good night.
It’s honestly really hard to just pick ONE early LP from Costello to recommend. A greatest hits culled from his first 9 albums would give you one of the greatest collections of modern, literate, angular rock n’ roll songs the world has ever known.
But on an album-by-album basis, ol’ Declan does manage to throw a few duds onto just about everything. But that’s fine. It just makes it harder to pick an as-released release.
So his debut is the obvious choice. Alison is obviously just a staggering accomplishment for a young songwriter, and with the now-canonized inclusion of Watching the Detectives, you can double that compliment. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes is no slouch either.
I’m Not Angry is perhaps the album’s legit sleeper, and not only are the performance and arrangement stellar, but the lyric is rock n’ roll perfection for being both so poetic, and so dumbly macho, simultaneously:
You’re upstairs with the boyfriend while I’m left here to listen
I hear you calling his name, I hear the stutter of ignition
I had the great pleasure and honor of writing, recording, and performing with Ralph Carney for many years. Those were remarkable and often magical times for me. I was surely one of the luckiest musicians in the world, to stand beside Ralph Carney on stage for so many performances.
Regrettably, I’m afraid it all happened at a time when I was still too young, too inexperienced, too immature, to really comprehend the full measure of his singular genius.
I knew he was extraordinary. Anyone who heard him knew that.
But I was trying to build a career for myself then, and too busy making too many of the mortifying mistakes one often makes in that process.
I’m much older now, and the temptation towards regret is almost overwhelming—if I could have known then even a fraction of what I know now, I would have preserved every minute I had with him. I would have recorded every sound that emerged from his instruments. I would have made as much music with him as he would have let me.
I believe Ralph Carney was a multi-instrumentalist because he had to be—there was simply too much music in him.
As to myself, I was a fraud then, certainly. There were nights I’d look to my left and I’d see Jim Campilongo, and I’d look to my right and I’d see Ralph Carney, and I’d think to myself, what the hell am I doing here?
I know now, that Ralph was a gift to me, as he was a gift to anyone who had the pleasure and the honor of making music with him—he gave of his genius so generously.
It’s often said that “catching” a yawn from someone is indicative of an empathetic connection. The feeling of making music with Ralph Carney was like the feeling of “catching” a laugh from a giggling toddler—it just felt too good not to smile.
As I have grown into my life, I have learned that the people I admire most are those who are deadly serious about doing those things that are ultimately very fun. I think of Ralph Carney, and I think of ancient Zen poets running laughing through the mountains.
Deep bows to you, Ralph Carney. What else could I possibly do but weep, and say thank you?
I got to spend an afternoon in Nashville with Jack Clement once. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe it was him. Among other things, we talked about this album, and all the arguments over whether it was over-produced. As he has often done publicly, he reiterated his concession that he may have overdone it a bit. I disagreed. I like it just as it is.
As far as I’m concerned, with songs this good, there IS no right production touch. They contain so much, and every setting highlights different facets. When Townes played ’em solo, certain things moved to the fore, other things receded. As they are here, they show other sides of their personalities.
In his book A Grief Observed, written after his wife passed, C.S. Lewis talks about his anger at himself for not being able to hold a single image of his wife in his mind, convinced his love for her must be flawed. He ultimately comes to console himself through realizing that his knowledge of her was so nuanced, that how could a single image possibly even exist, that could show her in her full measure? Of course he couldn’t hold a single image. There wasn’t one.
That’s how I feel about these songs. How could one performance, one recording, one arrangement, possibly hold all they contain? When I hear these songs, I experience the production the way I might a dress on my missus; she looks lovely, I am reminded of something special about her, but it’s just the dress, it’s not the totality of HER.
Townes explains this all in the title song:
Maybe she just has to sing, for the sake of the song
And who do I think that I am to decide that she’s wrong?
If the success of a musician can be assessed via the influence they have on ensuing generations, then Blind Blake must surely be considered a towering figure in the history of country blues.
He’s been credited as an influence by no less a player than Rev. Gary Davis, himself surely one of the greatest guitarists this country has every produced. Also citing him as an influence are Ry Cooder, Leon Redbone, Bob Dylan, John Fahey, and more.
Like far too many black musicians of his era, he died young, from an illness that should have been easily preventable and/or treatable. Despite having bequeathed some 100 outstanding musical recordings to the world—recordings that would inspire generations of virtuoso players to come—he died young, poor, and under-appreciated.
Far too many sins remains as stains upon our national conscience, for having treated so many so poorly.
Blind Blake was at best a conventional vocalist, and his solo performances are notable largely for his guitar playing. But, oh, such guitar playing! West Coast Blues is literally a textbook on ragtime blues, and honestly the only one you need to listen to, should you wish to want to try to master the sound.
His work as an accompanist is understandably uneven, by definition being dependent on whoever he was playing with. But when the combinations are great, they’re truly great. A personal favorite is Grievin’ Hearted Blues, on which Blake backs the great Ma Rainey.
Blind Blake’s recording life lasted all of 6 years, but in those 6 years, he changed the future of music, and the lives of countless musicians as well.
I love every single thing Mance Lipscomb ever recorded. I’ve already recommended Volumes 1 & 5, and his oral autobiography, I Say Me For A Parable.
Now, I’ll happily recommend Volume 2!
Some GREAT songs and performances on here. Personal favorites? All of them, but especially:
Navasota’s finest. You can’t go wrong!