KID SHIRT

Monday, August 28, 2006

MV & EE WITH THE BUMMER ROAD PLAY ELLAS McDANIEL'S "WHO DO YOU LOVE"

"Where there is love
There is hay to roll in..."

Okay, hangover's gone & the next batch of pitches are finally out the door; time to talk about some music again (hurrah!):

Long time readers'll be aware I've got a soft spot for Matt Valentine & Erika Elder....been meaning to do a biggish piece on them, but never seem to find the time. Anyhow, this CD is dead lovely:



It's part of the recent Three-Lobed Records subscription series wh/ I've mentioned before. Check back thru previous posts, if yeh don't believe me...

Ellas McDaniel was/is, of course, the great Bo Diddley, so beloved by MES. There's a gtr tabulation for "Who Do You Love" here, so you can play yr own version, if yr so inclined. Written in 1956, the lyrics go:

"I walk 47 miles of barbed wire/I use a cobra-snake for a necktie/I got a brand new house by the roadside/Made outta rattlesnake hide/I got a brand new chimney made on top/Made out of a human skull/Come on take a little walk with me, baby/And tell me, who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love?

Got a tombstone hand and a graveyard mine/Just 22 and I don't mind dying/Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love?

Goin' round this town, take a rattlesnake whip/Who do you love? Come on baby, don't give me no lip/Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love?

Night was black, sky was blue/Round the corner, ice-wagon flew/Heard a bump, heard a scream/You should have seen just what I seen/Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love?

My baby took me by the hand/And said come on baby, I understand/Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? That's very nice! Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love?"

Great lyrics. At places, there's an edgy voodoo-visual element to the words that leaves them ripe for psychedelic re-interpretation: I can see why the song was covered by the likes of The Yardbirds, The Doors and Qucksilver Messenger Service. McDaniel's songs are usually big on rhythm and low on harmonic interaction: gert struttin'/striding' Walkin' Blues riddims and Ur-Rap vocals (usually puffin' & biggin' up himself - an inversion of the usual Trad. Blues ain't it awful tropes)...but contrast Bo's approach w/ MV/EE who've stripped the toon of its linear stomp-beat (and (most of its) vocals) then fired it out past the asteroid belt towards Saturn on a non-negotiable sling-shot space-mission...(this ain't the Walkin/Walkin Blues, bay-bee, this is Transdimensional Leavin'-Yr-Physical-Body Blues)... at points, tho', a distant Bo-style bass-line drifts in and out of signal-range, beaming in from 28 light-minutes out...though it generally fails to connect with the distant clattering (almost random) layers of percussion, vibrating gtr-pulse, theromin-synth-whoooop and Gilli Smythe-esque post-rural space-whispers that slide and swirl in and out and over each other like the multi-coloured strata of liquid methane and ammonia that makes up the atmosphere of Jupiter...

The song has seemingly been stripped down to his component parts, then reassembled minus almost everything that might make it readily identifiable, then stretttt-t-t-t-ched out into a languid, opiated lunar space-folk transmission that summons up the ghostly sat-sat-satellite broadcasts of early Popul Vuh and Ash-Ra Tempel.

It all starts innocently enuff with gliding silver-fingered 12-string pickwerk, but gradually everything starts to fracture and break apart, crumbling in slooooo-motion: a backwards harmonica twists through the air, tumbling and sliding across the summer skies chased by gentle fuzztone gtr-drones. Multi/tracked geetar-sounds trip over each other and form unnatural chords and accidental harmonics (again, the total opposite to Bo's bouncing tune-free Exo-Skeletal Rhythms): the music is in no hurry to go anywhere that we recognise. About 7/8 minutes in, rattling percussive interventions stumble drunkenly in and out of the room and echoing synth-hissssssh careens around inside the mix...around 14 minutes, they sound like a meditative incarnation of Can circa "Unlimited Edition" w/ Karoli caressing tha frets w/ syrup and Irmin Schmidt tweaking the ring-modulator while Holger trips over some bongos...elsewhere, it sounds a little like (duh!) the hazy astral-folk assemblages built by Tower Recordings: there are brief moments of melancholy, but the music's ultimate destination is Somewhere Outside, far beyond the fields we know. Right now, MV/EE (aided and abetted here by The Bummer Road: Mo' Jiggs and Willie Lane) are still content to come back down to earth at the end of their jams, but one day, mark my words, they'll just keep on going and never come back...

"We pack our bags
And worship in the corridor
Parted before Thee."

THERE'S A GIANT COCKROACH IN OUR TOILET