a john henry memorial - "love songs for the genuinly non excitable"
western blues and folk from a songwriter of true importance. poorly recorded during winter, and laid on a bed of hiss and strum. his third respective release gives a more in-tense, and personal look at love and loss. pure beauty for only three dollars.
"drift and die"
"no ones gonna"
"good good life"
"red red red"
Love Songs for the Genuinely Non-Excitable opens and closes with the sounds of a music box playing. It feels like an effort to establish a setting: the bedroom, possibly? Maybe? While listening to the cassette, I found myself searching for evidence to substantiate this belief. The supremely lo-fi recording quality of the album, while replete with all sorts of sonic fizz, was free of the background noise (i.e., television sets, vacuums, novelty rabbit-shaped mixers, etc.) associated with high-traffic areas in the average home, leading me to speculate that this was taped in the quiet privacy of the bedroom. I'm also certain I heard alarm clock-like beeps in the background of one track.
That is all evidence of the rather tangible variety. What follows is significantly less so ... "Crossover" sounds like it's crawling across a short distance to get to the listener, like the recording device was placed inside the bedroom closet and the guitarist played from a position within the bedroom. "Drift and Die," with its refrain of "It was all over before it began," is both wincingly frank ("I beat the Hell out of Linda" goes the opening line) and cruelly accusatory ("Reach for a man the way you reach for a drink")—the type of I'm-tearing-up-so-I'm-gonna-tear-her-down composition that can only be attempted on your own turf and behind closed doors.
Then there's "Good Good Life," an elegy so clouded and desolate, and full of questions that either don't have answers, will prompt rather unsavory answers, or have answers so complex a gaggle of cryptologists will be necessary to decode them. I wondered if it was cut in one of those tiny, soothing spaces every bedroom features: like between the bed and a wall or between the dresser and a writing desk. - PICK THE CATS EYES OUT
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