Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It List : Tuesday / Not New Music Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! I'm going to be filling in for Twins Cheeks the weeks he is unable to do Not New Music Tuesday. But first the it list...

90's Night w/Yeahdef (Hailey's)

Electric Vengeance, Hood Rat, Tattered Flag, King Ivy, Hogbat
(1919 Hemphill)

Hood Rat AND Hogbat on the same bill!

and now...

Not New Music Tuesday:

Mayo Thompson - Corky's Debt to his Father (Texas Revolution 1970/Drag City 2008)

This is my first NNMT so it is important I come out with guns blazing. After much deliberation, I offer for your critical review Mayo's Thompson's 1970 sexually charged weirdo folk masterpiece Corky's Debt to his Father. In my opinion this album is the epitome of avant garde folk rock. If you are only familiar with Mayo's work with the legendary and still prolific Red Krayola, then this album may come as a shock to you. For his only solo album Mayo traded in the free form art rock of Parable of Arable Land for a much more direct singer songwriter style. This is probably his most accessible work, but those familiar with the Krayola know that isn't saying much.

It is the authenticity in the weirdness that makes this album so special to me. The album was recorded around the time of his marriage and is like a demented love letter to his new wife. "I held your little breast in my hand and I kept my eyes on your knee" may not be the most romantic lyric ever, but the focus of Mayo's affection, no matter how creepy, comes from a honest place. Where a boring person would write a song comparing his love to a flower, Mayo compares her to a shoe with it's tongue hanging out. Popular music has the tendency to over simplify the communication of lovers and Mayo does his best not to fall into that trap. Every song on here is a love song, even though they may not seem like it on the surface or even after repeated listens. Mayo is able to achieve here what the Beatles could never do. That is merge the conceptualization of Glass Onion with the emotional directness of I Want to Hold Your Hand. It has been done since then, but for 1970 it is pretty shocking.

The music is sparse and serves as a gentle yet creepy back drop for Mayo's sexual laments. This is not to say it easy listening of course. There are bizarre time signatures and chord progressions that come out of no where. All of these bits come together to make one of the most singular albums in American music. This is Mayo's album, there is no way it could be mistaken as any one else.

I recently saw a BBC documentary over the history of Rough Trade and it of course featured Mayo, who worked as a sort of in house producer for the outfit. There amidst all the limey accents is Mayo with the thickest Texas drawl I have ever heard. It gave me a little bit of that Texas pride I sometimes forget exists.

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