Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giant Sandy Devotional

I used to think of Howe Gelb as a Bob Dylan for my generation (or at least a John Prine). His lyrics are always literate and clever, and he staked a claim on the alt-country turf when the geography of that genre had yet to be mapped. Jason and the Nashville Scorchers released their debut EP (with its rocking revision of "Absolutely Sweet Marie") in 1982 (the same year the Kinmans re-emerged as the Rank and File). These were no doubt an influence on Gelb.

Howe ever, Giant Sand is always all over the map, and now I think of Gelb as more of a Willie Nelson type. He's no generational spokesman but an accomplished singer-songwriter, and as a player he crisscrosses the borders between the lands of Jazz and Country, sometimes emerging from a wormhole into a musical DMZ.

November brings a new Giant Sand album, Blurry Blue Mountain, and with it the announcement from Fire Records of a reissue campaign to round up all the Giant Sand releases from the past 25 years, a disparate discography that wanders from one record label to another, with lineup changes reflecting death, divorce, and desertion. "Giant Sand is a mood," quoth Howe, and sometimes he's in the mood to do other things that aren't quite Sandy. Collaborations under the names of OP8, Friends of Dean Martinez, and AZ Amp and Alternator, as well as solo Howe Gelb records, have appeared over the years. Some (if not all) of these diversions will be rekindled by Fire Records through this ambitious and auspicious reissue campaign. All told it will encompass thirty CD's, plus vinyl picture discs.

First up for re-release are the first three: Valley of Rain, Thin Line Man, and Storm, a Giant Sand LP that was originally issued by Fire Records in 1988. A pedal steel guitarist was playing with the Sand at that time. Check out the barnstorming "Three 6ixes", the tale of a young man who beats the devil (without a fiddling contest). Read about Howe's favorite Giant Sand songs
here. And buy Blurry Blue Mountain -- it's a wistful and mature (but playful) collection of new songs, plus Howe revisits his own "Thin Line Man".

Giant Sand: Three 6ixes

Monday, November 15, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different

Blogger tells me that I passed 300 posts somewhere back there, and it's only taken me the better part of five years to do it. I couldn't have stuck with it this long without my loyal readers, especially those daily comments from 独懸賞金ム and 分海賊なら. You guys are 男性の為が! !!

Apropos of nothing, here's a poem what I hath recently wrot:

Well, the Spaniard sported an unsightly 'stache
As he sweltered in the slum
And the thirst unspoken to the sickened and scared,
But the soap was salving, son.
Abandon the bum -- he slandered the scum!
In a county pub, Beelzebub
Was besmirching every s'more
He can't stand how it stung
As he crammed down a crumb
It tastes bland, but it's fun
When it lands on the tongue

The Nectarine No.9 featuring Jock Scot: Rocket No.9

And Now for Something Remarkably Similar

Every purse was loaded with almighty cash
As Ranaldo softly strummed,
And then Thurston bit into a blackened old pear
But he'd rather have a plum!
Fandom is fun, but it can cost a ton.
And we gently nudged the unsightly smudge
Until the stain was gone
From the pants that we won
In an online auction.

Stay tuned for "Unclabbered and Admirable Palsy".

The Nectarine No.9: These Days