So Richard Dawson is on Weird Records, but he’s like Weird isn’t he, a bit weird, slightly odd, a touch touched? My Mum says he needs to learn how to tune his guitar, my friends think I need to listen to something, or someone else, … but me, me I think he’s a bit special. You know… Sue’s in the Kitchen cooking tea now, so I better turn it down a bit.. she’s from Sheffield and the Ex was from Widnes so rather mistakenly I feel I understand Northerners. Dawson is from Oop North with it’s grey lid and it’s sideways rains and rustic vistas… Fuck me side three starts up like ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by The Who, this Northern Folk Soul Mod has got me.. on the run, mentally I won’t be the same again.
I love how he writes it as he sees it and sings it as he writes it, that’s very refreshing. I like what he sees too, the mundane daily business of seeking a spiritual existence in the Crab Nebula of daily grinding shite and in the vernacular of the unspectacular. The Hogarth, an empty bottle rolling windily on a street’s cobbled gutter, the glowing prism of coal light below the UFO in Black Triangle. He points at it in his lyrics, no judgement, but the music says otherwise, otherwise you wouldn’t get the soft cymbal in Freshers Ball. An obvious love song, to someone, whose Bobbie? Doesn’t matter, it’s probably made up anyway. Could be, who knows. Don’t know him, never been to a gig.
Slack Guitar nurses along, lifted by modern sounds of synth, and there are moments I’m thinking, ‘was he listening to the same Heavy Metal as me in the 80s and 90s’? Was he? I’m scratching about for easy categorising scabbings, exploring the slag heaps of a grim NORTH, so ‘File in Pop’, lifting up genre defining funguses to see if Dawson lingers below, eyes gleaming, taking the piss, launching out spores of musical diffusion, confusion and originality. He is is he?
The sleeves of this dbl Lp have lyrics on, that’s good. Some insight.
There’s a lot of shit talked about this guy and his music, so just listen and take from it what you take, I guarantee that it won’t be like anything you’ve ever taken from anyone before, and jee suss, that makes it worthwhile don’t it?
Pachyman In Dub, released this year (2019) is an homage to all that was great about 1970s Dub Reggae.
Pachyman, an obvious enthusiast for Roots Rockers Reggae and the sonic qualities of that genre, delivers into ’nuff skanking ear worms deep and heavyweight baselines, like Robbie Shakespeare in his own Barbell label days, with the accompanying phasing and echo effects of Dub Master King Tubby straight outta Drummilie Avenue and some oh so tasteful keyboards over the top in the style of Winston Wright or Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey. You can hear the influence of producers like Bunny Lee and Lee Perry and the mixing touch of engineers like Errol Thompson and the then Prince Jammy. pachyman.bandcamp.com
His lines are choice, and he’s listened and absorbed, you can tell he has a great ear and he has heard what you have heard, and he has heard the word and that word is DUB. He plays everything and very musically indeed.
Each tune is a little ‘Dub’ gemstone, shining brightly on it’s own, and what I enjoyed was that he has treated each ‘Dub’ as a stand-alone production in their own right, i.e., unlike their 70s counterparts, they are not the re-cycled versions of vocal or instrumental original songs, they are stand alone tunes in their own right and his love for the genre rings true all the stronger for this treatment. They are each a little Dub imagining. I’m hoping we may hear a Deejay version of this Lp, or even that he retrospectively gets some singers and players to produce one away originals on the rhythms he’s created, because those rhythms are strong.
It suffers a little from the outboard he’s used to create it, as the sound at times can seem a little flat and the audio field isn’t as wide as you might want to enjoy, but something about the bottom end and mid range sound, the lack of a truly clean and crisp top end and the flat Mono nature of the mix down gives it more of an original feel. It sounds like an Lp produced, perhaps not at a leading studio of the time like Channel One, but perhaps somewhere where they hadn’t quite got the sound totally sussed yet, working on a smaller budget, possibly making it all the more accurate and retrospectively correct, .. has he gone to the ultimate degree to produce a truly ‘retro’ sound? Probably not, but it’s fun to play with the idea that the concept might just go this deep.
I only found out about this Lp a number of mere months after it was released by Permanent Records in the USA, and with no European distribution and already SOLD OUT but the time I knew of it I was left to hunt down a test pressing, pay through the nose for it and then pay the import tax when it came into the country, making it considerably more expensive than many rare Lps of original material I have sourced through the years. But, I believe it’s worth it, which says a lot I think for the quality of the music and the ear of it’s creator.
Check out ‘Jumpy’, my favourite tune of the Lp, but they’re all good. I suggest your roll up on a copy.. soon.
Daniel Romano – Finally Free – New West Records NW5255 – Released 2018
I’m going to be totally honest here, and brutally frank. I don’t know what the fuck this Lp is ‘really‘ about. That fact, in combination with my assertion that it is a work of beauty and genius has got me seriously fucked up and confused, I don’t get that way often. I like it though when I do. I like it when I can’t tuck something into a pigeonhole, when it tells me to get my listening ears on properly. I like it when it is music so obviously and adventurously wonderful. But when records are just pretentiously impenetrable, I lean quickly to placing them into the category ‘shite’ to be ignored, and money recently wasted.
I don’t normally have a hard time working out what an artist is trying to do, writing about, saying, who they sound like or where their influences lay, but that’s not the case with Finally Free. Daniel might feel finally freed by this Lp as if it were some cathartic exercise in musical self assertion, but it’s got me quite possibly ‘finally stumped’ in working out what’s going on with it.
But that’s a GOOD thing. I’m bored with knowing what the hell I’m hearing. In my dotage I need something I’ve not ever heard the like of before too keep my interest. To make me want to review it for instance, in a blog.
Just who the hell is Daniel Romano?
I first ‘discovered’ my version of Daniel Romano, isolated and without musical guidance, while trawling YouTube for Alt Country songs, and found a wonderful song, that appears with an alternative title, feel and mix on his Lp. ‘If I’ve Only One Time Askin” but is on YouTube called ‘More Love From A Stranger’. I was immediately struck by his songwriting, playful attitude to wearing revival Nudie style suits with a big hat, and his obvious and only slightly submerged obsession with Hank Williams Jnr. The song was strong. Sounded like a man headed for romantic oblivion at the bottom of a bottle, and had me hooked. Shortly thereafter I bought the frankly disappointing cd album ‘Come Cry With Me’ on import. The songs were nowhere near as strong as his YouTube appearance and I put any further exploration of his music aside for a while.
Then recently while at a record store in Brighton England I took a punt on what is a recent but not latest release by him, Finally Free, the record I’m here to try and review. I bought it partly because Romano’s stuff just doesn’t appear in the UK without a pricey import tariff generally. It’s hard to find, and expensive when you do. The point I’m making is that my experience of his music was not explained or taught by anyone, he’s a rare thing for me a discovery I made. His music is a place I found, not one I was shown to, or recommended. I don’t know his story, I’m in a dark room and it’s as if he keeps his history close to his chest, there isn’t a lot out there about who is, or has been. I think he likes it that way, I think he likes to play with his perceived image. Do you Daniel? Is that what it’s about for you?
I took Finally Free home, listened, loved it, listened again, loved it more, couldn’t get the lyrics at all, found them impenetrable. Were they pretentious as fuck, or heartfelt? Then listened to the Lp over two months lots of times, loving it. But not getting any closer to the centre of it.
I had questions to answer.
The artwork by Daniel on the Lp sleeve and on the reverse of the frankly ugly poster included was it naïve, or just shitty? Was the assertion on the outer sleeve notes that the Lp was mastered on the stolen land of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabek and Huron-Wendat, but produced and mixed on the stolen land of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek just so much pretentious waffle or meant from the heart?
I remain confused and as yet unconvinced of just what he’s trying to do. That’s a good thing, I feel wrong-footed, confused, but loving the sound, the sound, the music, the music which carries all doubt straight through to the second side’s run out groove.
Don’t fuck me around Dan!
Is he just fucking with us, one minute he’s a finger picking singer songwriter (I’m here citing early YouTube videos of his performances), then he’s rhinestone cowboy, a hard drinking’ country star, then he’s alt something, love poet, romantic bard and fine artist who states that the Lp is ‘A Collection Of Poems In The Language Of Love’, and whom refers on the rear of the sleeve to his penmanship on it as ‘Notes From The Author’. Is he playing with us again, this time trying to impart on himself and perhaps the Lp project the perception of a literary milieu.
The cover, an area previously explored as a thing of artistic potential by Daniel Romano is left filled by ugliness, an ugly 3d photo, and two of the nastiest colours you could pick for anything, even a death warrant, and yet the innards, the guts of the Lp, the music, the production, arrangement, mix of musical happenstance and composition are deftly combined to produce a thing of utter transcendence. Some of the chord progressions are just wondrous, and not one song feels copied, hackneyed or unoriginal.
To all intents it looks like an Lp where the artist is trying way too hard to be noticed, way too hard to impress, to be original, not to quote and re-quote other musical styles and other artists, and yet he manages to do exactly that, to be beautifully original and to prevent the listener being able to catalogue his sound and style. I have my own opinions of course of where some of the sounds hail from, you will have your own when you listen to it (and I hope you do). I can hear strong hints of The Incredible String Band then The Beach Boys, The Byrds (back in 8 Mile High days), Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan, Earth Opera, The Velvet Underground, Rocky Horror style Rock Opera shenanigans, Nick Drake, and the sonic 60s excesses of an LSD fuelled musical decade. Like all great music it sounds like you’ve heard it before, but you know you haven’t.
Unlike those Lps of old that used to say in little text long the top edge of the sleeve – ‘File Under ‘Rock N’ Roll’, you won’t get any such advice from Mr. Romano. It’s going to have to go in a section all of it’s own. ‘Finally Free from category’.
Los Apartamentos’ debut Lp – Water Di Garden – Due out April 2019
If you know Mento, you’ll know Count Lasher’s track for Stanley Motta, ‘Water The Garden’, all about a young man who is unhappily exposed, and haffi ‘Reel Out The Hose’ while watering his lady boss’s jardin, and hopefully not a Jardin Publique as I&I French would a say, or things could have got illegal, yah get mi Fam?
So while mooching about the Mento driven corners of the internet one ‘Winston’ of Mento band Los Apartamentos and I got in touch with one another. I had immediately responded favourably to the tongue in cheek band name, as I’ve always wanted to have a Pan Pipe group called ‘Los Pastillas Urinarios’ (the toilet blocks, you know those rancid chunks of pineapple in the urinals, uh huh .. yep that.. ), and I think Winston could spot a fellow lover of Jamaican Mento music too, as did I.
These boys look interesting I muttered to myself while flicking through Instagram. Winston by then had also hooked up with my radio show bigmikeydread reggae radio, and he showed an obvious love for the Mento I was playing on it, educating me about Calypso in Germany, where the band hails from and which has a long history of interest in Calypso and Mento; as do one or two other northern European countries like the Netherlands and Belgium.
Then a short while ago he posted a video of a tourist postcard which played Mento, one of those old records on cardboard affairs. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t a 50s-60s antique collector’s item, but his band’s promotional item, for an Lp entitled ‘Water Di Garden’ due out on April 19th on Jump Up Records. www.jumpuprecords.com
I expressed an interest and today his ‘promo pack’ landed, the postcard went straight on my turntable, and you can view a video of it spinning below. I do apologise that the sound on my short video is woeful, but it’s such a nice object, I had to show you all.
Basically the guys came together out of a love of Ska and Jamaican music in the city of Cologne, trading old instruments for new ones, they built a bass lammelophone (Rhumba Box) and off they went. Spreading the music and the joy for a few years before being invited to record an album by Chuck Wren of Jump Up Records.
Rather wonderfully they recorded to one Mic, just as the producers of early Mento had during the balmy night time recording sessions of noisy 1950s Kingston, and that Lp of one take renderings of vintage Mento songs is released in April of 2019. I’ll definitely be checking it out, the small excerpt on the postcard promo sounds pukka, and that’s pukka to the ears of a highly over-critical lover of Mento who would tell you in a trice if it sounded a mockery in any sense.. it doesn’t, it sounds sweet.
Check back here for a review hopefully later this year. I’ll be getting hold of a copy for sure.
Why are these Seekers not roll down the hill, they are indeed gravitationally another job, I think that maybe they are. Pop music can do the most wonderful things.
I not want look of Love from Liberace, it is look of desperate old man, desperate and bum squeezer.
scrub your windows, tarmac your drive?
Mrs. Barf by its appearance. So cruel viewers church, so cruel.
Hi I’m George Zamfir, I can toot on his beautiful pipes?
Pop of the Tits? Pop of the Tops? And twisty too!
this will be putting hairs on your chest,.. oh sorry migration to chin..
oh joy, ohhh special needs, oh oh no, oh combustible corsage, oh oh.. third degree burning!
It’ll put hair on your palms darlings, just not on your head!
Alfons Bauer and his tower of Power, and occassional German porno golden shower..
Gracie Fields, reffered to often by the British as the “Our Gracie,” Bogumil not know why, to be honest I would disown her if she was mine, but as you can see from this example that mouth she eats people for lunch. Munch munch.
I roar like sexy Boar at you from hedge, Raaaawwwwrrrgrrrr…
Dolly Mixture, yes of madness and psychosis.
Miki and Griff like a spliff, and playing hippy chase in tree land..
Really terrible skills crayola, special needs, special skills.
Sex Swing Yum
Studyy picture carefully, and more, ? Patrick Moore bro?
Detail of below.
Details from Black and white minstrel Lp. Bring back 70s, bring back Blyton, bring back gollywog jam, all is forgiven.
Will Glahe, German Accordion soundsystemic against Jimmy ‘The Hand-Shand, with Scottish Accordionne favourites. Right on.
Binary digits Gypsy music all this analog LP, why digital advertising such thing 80s. Dates wonderful.
Harry Secombe, Secombe and destroy, tasteless money grabbing Goon!
If you are gonna airbrush photo, make worse? Or maybe she was train wreck before perhaps porbablies?
Jimmy ‘The Hand Shandy’ Shand, with his Wanketron!
One of my worse, wonderful.
It’s like this man is Vietnam verteran, crazy on Polish potato wine, you must be crazy to record a deck of cards for the second time!
Whe must be surprised, Mummy not tell her 4 Hawaiian ladies visit on Wedding night with slide guitar and invitation to dance.
have a very merry Christmas style English, Polish Potato Joy gift!
In Yetties, slightly less attractive than Prog Rock Band Sasquatch were amongs the most pretentious and ugly groups in history, certainly a great group of nausea.
Honky Tonkin’ with long line of classic Honky Tonkers, Meade Lux Lewis, Pine Top Perkins and even Jank Williams, pure class.
Boss eyed George, country classics, unlike painting, not classic, just very poor effort on part of part time tractor driver, Sergei Ramzonnonoff