Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Let’s Smerf

When historians are looking to chart the cultural shifts of the late 20th Century they would be well advised to analyse the rise and fall of various smurf figurines. 1997 saw the retirement of the hopelessly non-aspirational tramp smurf and caveman smurf along with the introduction of the much more hip inline skater smurf and smurfette and disco smurf and smurfette

Despite not being signed to Fat Possum, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion have still come to symbolize what the label stands for; a relationship they cemented when they joined RL Burnside on his Fat Possum album A Ass Pocket Full of Whiskey in 1996. That year JSBX also released their album Now I Got Worry which features a more collaborations including funk legend Rufus Thomas and honorary Beastie Boy Money Mark.

But The Explosions are always at their best as a threesome such as on the ’97 singles Wail and 2 Kindsa Love. Wail was accompanied by an ugly and disastrously unfunny video by Weird Al Yankovich. Luckily, Judah Bauer managed to retain his ‘Coolest Man In Rock’ title despite being forced to do the nose dance. You can watch it here but you’d be better off checking out Talk About The Blues (on the same page) featuring Winona ‘celebrity theft pixie’ Ryder as Spencer along with Giovanni Ribisi and John ‘hasn’t done anything since Boogie Nights’ Reilly.

Let’s Smerf appeared as the b-side to 2 Kindsa Love.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Let’s Smerf

Buy Now I Got Worry

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Neckbones – Hit Me

The jawbone’s connected to the skullbone,
The skullbone’s connected to the neckbone,
The Neckbones connected to the tradition of stark, hardhitting music from the Mississippi region

Although Fat Possum are largely, and rightly, known for releasing records by old, black blues musicians such as T-Model Ford and Junior Kimbrough they occasionally sign young white kids to much greater financial reward (e.g. Black Keys and Fiery Furnaces). However, sometimes even white kids can’t sell records.

The recording of The Neckbones’ 1997 album Soul On Fire did not go smoothly. During sessions singer/guitarist Tyler Keith had to be rushed to hospital with a swollen liver. Whilst there bassist Robbie Alexander got his arm stuck, Homer Simpson style, inside a cigarette vending machine. He was sawn out by the fire brigade some 2 hours later.

You wouldn’t know it by the number of factual inaccuracies but I do actually do some research for this blog. During my travels I read the strangest bio of The Neckbones on Fat Possum. It contains exactly no information about the band but extensive, lurid, vomit-inducing detail on the acts the writer would like to perform on the Souls On Fire cover girl. Luckily, it’s rescued by the pay-off line, “I am the only one who knows that she now has the demon spawn in her womb.”

The Neckbones – Hit Me

Buy Souls On Fire

In Other News

Tonight, BBC2, 2110, The Summer of… 1997.
Almost certain to contain extensive coverage of the high-jinx of obscure US punks.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Junior Kimbrough – Lonesome Road

There are only two types of modern blues records: those released on Fat Possum and those that suck.

Kimbrough’s story is so similar to T-Model Ford’s I was tempted to cut and paste last week’s entry. Born into a poor Mississippi family; alcohol induced coma at age 6; father of 36 children; a life of obscurity until picked up by Fat Possum late in life.

Kimbrough was in fact the first act signed by Fat Possum. He came to the attention of fattest possum Matthew Johnson after appearing in the film Deep Blues. His first album All Night Long brought him great admiration from blues aficionados. At this point he was too ill to tour so a steady stream of fans made their way to Mississippi including U2, The Rolling Stones and Iggy Pop.

By the time of 1997’s Most Things Haven’t Worked Out Kimbrough’s suffering had worsened and would finally take his life in 1998. Despite this he still sounds in fine fettle.

Since his death, Kimbrough’s fame has spread thanks to a tribute album featuring The Black Keys and a tribute album by The Black Keys.

Junior Kimbrough – Lonesome Road

Buy Most Things Haven’t Worked Out

Saturday, June 03, 2006

T-Model Ford – I’m Insane

T-Model Ford is going to remember you sorry fuckers how it’s done.

Listening to this track and following his career, it’s hard to disagree with T-Model's assertion that he is insane.

T-Model, or James Lewis Carter Ford as his Mum knows him, released his debut album, full of the kind of ramshackle blues of which Fat Possum is known for, at the tender age of 70-something (he’s not entirely sure of his age). He spent many of the previous years either in bars or behind bars - including a two year stint on a chain gang of murder - and somehow finding the time to father 25 children.

Age hasn’t entirely mellowed him. Today’s track chronicles his stormy and occasionally violent relationship with his fifth and current wife Stella. His temper has meant that he has had trouble holding a band together even for the length of a recording session. His only long term cohort, until they fell out, was drummer Spam who has an equally fearsome reputation.

However, this rather sweet article suggests that behind the legends and tall tales is a lovable family man.

T-Model can currently be found dishing out relationship advice in Arthur Magazine - no, really.

T-Model Ford – I’m Insane

Buy Pee Wee Get My Gun

Download more from Pee Wee Get My Gun on Fat Possum Records