23 April 2014

SCOTT H BiRAM - Nothing But Blood (2014)

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America's Sweetheart.
Scott H Biram, America's lowdown sweetheart of the punkass country/blues has returned with Nothing But Blood, his most distilled Biramness yet. It's everything his long time fans love about his work, smart, thoughtful lyrics (unless it's time to PARTY!) and it's bound to atttract new fanatics as well.

This is music for Texas-sized homewreckin' and heart-broken heartbreaking, beer ( & whiskey! )
drinkin' and hell raisin', and coming to see Jesus. The classic Biram balance of the southern sacred and country profane.

Scott Biram's guitar playing is at its most nuanced on this album, his relelntless schedule has honed his work well. No less ferocious (as needed) but more soulful. He's got a tighter grip on it. But it's always identifiable as him.

From the taut hard country blues of Slow & Easy, with its overlay of beautifully assertive yet delicate acoustic finger work, to the lonesome vet country of 'Nam Weed (a song Waylon should of had a chance to sing) and the heartbreak of Never Coming Home, to the the gently rockin' southern gospel of When I Die, Scott H Biram is a dirty Springsteen, and there ain't nothin' wrong with that. If anybody could cover the Nebraska album, it'd be this guy. Instead of Jersey songs about cars and girls, he plays Texas-American country music for meth heads and bankers, ballers and Kings. and Jesus.

Always a man with a sharp ear and keen sense for feel, ambiance, and tension, Scott Biram has grown to be a comfortable but lonely, dangerous country store of broken down shit and kickin' ass.

He has had a string of fine albums that I'd recommend to almost anyone. Nothin' But Blood continues that streak, compiling details like none previous. Shadings, darker corners, a man alone. It's truly an exceptional piece of work. Oh sure, maybe he gives you a couple three songs more than needed, but can you have enough Scott H Biram? I can't. And that's for damn sure.

We are (or you oughta be) to the point that with out question we just buy Biram's albums because it's guaranteed quality and Scott does not disappoint here. He's taken his business to another level. Subtle and lovely at times, wicked, weird and cutting where needed. He is worthy of your support ;0)

Here's a track by track rundown::

1.) The opener Slow and Easy is an album highlight. His vocal delivery while never...pretty, is tough and tight with a great sense of phrasing. It's stronger than ever here, richer, a little more refined, older. He's always been terrific at setting a mood, a tension, and that's put to good use here.

Always a master at olde-timey covers and forms, Biram's 2.) Gotta Get To Heaven is just what you think it'd be. A ball of a gospel, the kind he does so well. Acoustic acoustic country gospel that wrassles with the devil and spreads The Good News.

In fine Biram style he must follow the sacred with the profane. Track 3.) Alcohol Blues. A dirty mouthed grinding blues with a short, a tight Texas guitar solo in cowboy boots tracking mud across your clean floor. Van Halen should cover this.

Speaking of covers, 4.) Never coming home should be covered immediatly by Willie Nelson.

5.)  WHISKEY (can sleep in my bed.) Lawd have mercy!

6.) is Jack of Diamonds as interpreted by.

7.) Nam Weed. On an album of great songs, Nam Weed is a stellar stand out. I heard this song live earlier this year and it slayed me.

8.) Backdoor man is what you think it is, getting dirty with Mr. Wolf.

9.) Church Point Girls. Biram always has at least one Slayer as (fillinblank) song. This is the rockabilly version. Super rock killer.

10.) Let's go with ol' man Biram back to the foothills of somewhere south, and early in the olde timey century. He's got Trouble.

11.) Biram knows his way around his studio and thats amply apparent on Around The Bend. It's the one-man band Biram in the studio making Melvins and Slayer weep. Major party action buzz on.

12.) Lovely. A Texas thunderstorm at night, let's sit on the porch and listen to Scott sing a reverbed version of Amazing Grace in a voice I have never heard from him before, small-town, church, Elvisian. He's singing for someone and it's none of our business just who. Moving.

13.) is a cover of Son House's John The Revelator done with Mephian Austinite rockster Jesse Vain.

14.) and we close the Scott H Biram show with When I Die, another classic Biramized gospel song. He's so good at the gospel stuff, it's wicked. You'd think he had a personal relationship with it. The Man In Black said, If they ever outlaw religion, I hope there's evidence to convict me.

That's it. The run down. Go give him your money. You're welcome.



12 April 2014

MUDLOW: LiVE at BiG Vs in Saint Paul MN 07.21.08 (originally posted 08/04/08)

pinhole pic of Mudlow shot by nhungsta!

Brighton UKs Mudlow played a post-DBF gig at Big Vs in Saint Paul MN on the monday following the fest. Sadly their sax man Trimble was under the weather but I filled in on Maraccas and Honkeyfinger hit the harp on a couple songs. They played a bunch of new material including a sweet cover of The Scud Mountain Boys song Silo (which has always been a fave of mine so I was shocked and thrilled to hear them do it.)

 The material shows growth while still retaining their very Mudlow-ness that I know and love. My Norwegian journalist friend Oyvind Pharo had spoken with them earlier and had been told that they like to consider their music the soundtrack to an unmade film. Well said.

I shot the show with my handy Casio Exilm. It was pretty dark on stage but the sound is good. Mudlow seems to have the ol' Prophet not Welcome at Home problem in the UK so please spread the word about them so we can get them back to the U.S. asap where they garnered a slew of new fans at The Deep Blues Festival.

Update: Sadly I managed to drown that trusty Casio in the ocean, trying to get wave shots. I did but i'll never see them. Great camera, tho.


MUDLOW- Dust from ricksaunders on Vimeo.


MUDLOW - Fetlock from ricksaunders on Vimeo.


MUDLOW - So Long Lee from ricksaunders on Vimeo.


MUDLOW - Silo from ricksaunders on Vimeo.


MUDLOW - Drunken Turkey from ricksaunders on Vimeo.


MUDLOW - Zac from ricksaunders on Vimeo.


MUDLOW - Catalina from ricksaunders on Vimeo.


MUDLOW - Down In The Snow from ricksaunders on Vimeo.

BONUS!
Here's a couple sooper rare Mudlow mp3s
for being such good little monkeys
:


Jester MP3
Ain't No Pleasing You

06 April 2014

HiLLSTOMP thrown down the hunch n' buck (originally posted 07/28/07)



 @ fB // web // wiki //

HiLLSTOMP beats hell
in those west Oregon valley blues
crisp and grimey
(sayhey!)snappykhakis
deep pocketed full up
those old hill(side)country
so(i)ul and new
rainsoaked side alley pot holes
John/Henry's two man team
Half Fred with Faulkner's adze
handle R.L.ian resorazor
clatter HWY 7 riverside. stop.
Rollin' long enough 
haul up blowers, banjers, yellers, an dawgs
tracking Columbia mud 'cross
my gawdblamed kitchen floor loudly
Welcomed 'til all hours day and night.

I believe.

Hillstomp- The Woman That Ended The World - 2005

With the release of “The Woman that Ended the World” Portland Oregon’s Hillstomp deliver on the promise of the first North Mississippi Allstars 45 as well as those of RL Burnside vs Jon Spencer’s “Ass Pocket of Whiskey “ and moreover Hillstomp’s own debut which is still an exciting entrĂ©e to this fine duo. Artist’s like Hillstomp, Black Diamond Heavies, Mark Lemhouse, Gravel Road, Sugar Farm and others are kicking the blues alive for rediscovery by making it exciting and moving again in the same way Cream, the Stones, and Yardbirds did. They are selling us back our North Mississippi Country blues via a trip to the hills of Oregon and the streets of Portland.

Fans of the aforementioned artists will be thrilled by this new collection which includes originals alongside a Fred McDowell thing and some good Ranie Burnette from whom so many good things grew (look him up). Hillstomp plays North Mississippi flavoured American music and they play it snapped up and tightly wound. They play it on odd old guitars and tubs and skins and cans in a way that keeps your ears bent, head bobbin’ and feet slidin’. This might not be your old man’s blues. But it might should be.





05 April 2014

J. Geils Band - "Live" Full House: Greatest Live Album of All Time or First Sign of The Detroit Breakdown?


"Serves you right to suffer baby. 
Serves you right. 
You gonna live alone."

Is J. Geils Band LiVE Full House the greatest live rock album of all time? For me that'd be a two-way tie...maybe three-way. The tie is with the live side of ZZ Top's Fandango. So, tie and a half maybe. Third? Rush- All The Worlds a Stage. Bite me. I'm no big Rush fan (anymore ;0) but I do respect the hell out of them. More about that later*.
Why J.Geils Full House? You have to hear it. It's made loud to be played loud. The band is as tight as if they were all breathing from the same lung. Their set is filled with hard soul boogie and seriousass deep blues. Peter Wolf is one of the best post-Jagger leadmen in the history of rock. Magic Dick is a harmonica player who is tasteful and plays with the band and augments the band and knows when to wail and when to shut the hell up. Rare in a harp player. The whole album is only about forty minutes long and that's all J. Geils needs to kill and bury you. Trust me. This is one album that no collection is complete without. I bought my first copy on vinyl in 1972 when I was twelve after my brother told me he'd just blown his tweeters after repeated listens to Whammer Jammer. I got it and stretched my woofers from endlessly playing J. Geils cover of Hooker's Serves You Right to Suffer. That song helped make me the man I am today. This ain't no Angel Is A Centerfold-era foolishness.

*Here's the deal with Rush- All The Worlds a Stage: As a kid I had a hand me down stereo I got from my older brother. It was one of those old jobs where the speakers are attached to the side and you could fold them back and flip the turntable up and it had a handle on the top which made the thing portable. One day I was listening to something as loud as that ol' stereo would go when all of a sudden it started smoking and one of the channels went out. I was crushed. I kept using the thing as a mono rig and didn't bother to buy any more records because I knew they'd sound like crap. But then All The Worlds a Stage came out and I had to get it. When down to the record store and picked it up. Put it on and it sounded like crap. At first. But but then that old stereo started smokin' again and the speaker started working again. The power of Rush repaired my stereo.





04 April 2014

THE JOOKS OF KENT: The Righteous Return of the Raw Boogie! (originally posted 02/03/08)


@ iTunes // AMZN

If nothing else The Jooks of Kent have succeeded in making what is perhaps the loudest album I have ever heard in my life. Like yr Sooper Chikan humpin' on the leg of Bob Log III.

The Jooks are a mean, jankety little three piece made up out of Chris Simmonds on mouth harp, Scarlett Rickard on drums, washboard and whathaveyou, plus Guitar/vocals by Tim Ray Rogers. They've opened for such punkass blues luminaries as Mr.Scott H Biram and Seasick Steve and are regulars on the Not The Same Old Blues Crap circuit. They also run their own lil' PUNK BLUES TRASH ROCK'N'ROLL night out in Folkestone on the coast of Kent.

But y'all don't care about Folkestone. Y'all just want to know what the album sounds like. Fine. Fine! It's a blind drunk stolen car spree, it's a phone call from your wife's ex-husband...from prison, it's the sound of the sidepipes on the neighbor's '73 Firebird, it's the AM car radio volume knob shoved all the way 'round til it snaps itself off and jumps out the wing vents. it's a brodie spinnin' thrill ride with with iggy's stooges and Majic Dick in the back seat of The Fall's olde '66 hot rod (motor kustom built by Jon Spencer (not Jesus) ) with the ghost of Hasil Adkins at the wheel and Cap'n Beefheart ridin' shotgun. Mud ballin' n' ass haulin' straight thru the Medway megaliths with the headlights smashed out by yr ex-Aldington Gang. I was drankin' on the first night I sat down to listen to the Jooks of Kents new album The Sun Shines On The Righteous and woke up the next morning in the garage with hay in my hair, a greasy wet harp stain across my forehead, a broken 2B drumstick in my back pocket, an E string tied to my ankle, blood on my teeth and mud on my knees.

The Jooks bring the distorted power of their raw boogie hard and sexy like some insane hybrid mutt dog cross of the earliest sounds of rock, roll and blues
I couldn't have been happier.














30 March 2014

CHRiS COTTON Watched The Devil Die (originally posted 07/09/07)


@Chris Cotton // CDbaby // Blue Eyed Devils // Alviso Homewreckers // soundcloud // Yellow Dog Records


"...the human word is like an outworn, battered timbal upon which we beat melodies fit for making bears dance when we are trying to move the stars to pity." -Flaubert

Which is my big ol' ham-fisted way of saying when it comes to Real Blues or what The Straight People call blues I ain't so sure I got my homework done enough to know what i'm talkin' about. But Chris Cotton does. 
However,  in the spirit of MY Real Blues (and Mr.Cotton's) to hell with the damned stars and bring on the dancing bears! I just finished listening to Chris Cotton's new CD titled I Watched The Devil Die. I'm awful sorry to say that the best language I could come up with at the final note (without my usual swearing) was WOW! 

You'll be adding your own abundant and imaginative expletives after you hear it for yourself. I'm at least honest enough to admit I know about enough about Piedmont style and other finger pickin' styles to keep my mouth half shut about Mr.Cotton's technical skill. On the other hand, a fellow I work with is versed in that world. His word as nail hit upon head listening to this set was, "Exceptional!"


Most finger-pickin' sorts have sounded high-brow, tight and pretty clean to my mud and woods tuned ears. Mr. Cotton despite his dangerous knowledge makes it roll out and around the ol' dirt road just as natural and rockin' as can be, not forced faux and special. Mr. Cotton covers some of the masters works here. Mr. Willie McTell's Dyin' Crap Shooters Blues, The Mississippi Sheiks' That's it, and of course Mr's Hurt and James with Louis Collins and I'm So Glad. But this man's a fine songwriter too. Six of the twelve here are his and fit quite comfortably up against the old timers. 

Each song sounds like it was played (not performed) at a late night pickin' party among good friends. The song Black Night sticks out for the help and heft of Mr. Big Jack Johnson's after-hours slide and as well for Mr. Cotton's xtra fine band's joyful playing on such a dark and menacing song. Mr. Jimbo Mathus' production here as usual brings you in to the room and sets you nicely in the hot seat front and center of the action goin' down live and naked and hot in the Mississippi midnite hour. 
I just gotta hope Yellow Dog Records P.R. Machine is fired up to overheatin' overdrive on this disc 'cuz if work this good isn't hailed in all the so called blues mags and beyond then sombody someplace ain't payin' attention. Of course most folks don't listen cuz they're too busy bein' dazzeled by the stars and wouldn't Hear great music if it was a dancing bear bitin' their ass.











23 March 2014

Mr. Scott H. Biram (Originally posted 07/03/07)


Scott Biram , like Hank Williams the 3rd, takes an old style of music and kicks it's ass so hard that it becomes new again with out becoming retro or kitsch or gimmicky in any way. Mr. Biram's love and knowledge of the deep and real early blues and country music is obvious and infectious as is his love of metal and bluegrass. If you've never been to see Biram live you are missing out on one of the best live performers i've ever had the pleasure to experience.


Not one of those weak bastards content to give you the same safe and boringly stoopid show night after night Scott mixes it up between covers you might have heard if you know yr early american music history well enough and his um...hits. No he's never had a hit record but from the audience response you'd never guess it. Even the songs you know and love from the Biram catalog will be played slightly different.

For me, and i'd assume for Biram as well, it's that element of surprise that keeps his show always fresh and always a thrill. Scott Hiram Biram hails from Prairie Lee Texas but is mainly from San Marcos Texas (zip 78666!) which lies halfass between San Antonio and Austin. That ain’t too far from Hondo, but far enough from Big Foot. Biram and his truck got flat creamed by a semi doin’ 75. One month later he’s back on stage at Austin’s famed Continental Club in a wheelchair with an IV hangin’ out his arm and flailin’ that ’59 Gibson hollow body like a man born again.

Scott Biram plays like a man possessed by the thought that this could by-gawd be his last gig ever and if he’s gonna die afterwards he’s takin’ yr ass and soul with him. A right fist full of bluegrass, the left filled with metal, and a hard gut full up on the deep, serious-ass, hard time blues. You’ll be praying fast for Biram to hit you again.