Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bob Harrison - Yellow Moon

In the micro-genre of local Elvis impersonator LPs there's usually little to write home about... Rick Saucedo managed to pull a real rabbit out of the hat with his soft-psych sublimation of faded crooner vibes into something truly effervescent on the rare Heaven Was Blue LP, but usually it's just a guy with a bad haircut and even worse retreads of the King's hits put alongside glassy-eyed tributes to his departed holiness, in leather may he rest. Bob Harrison's Yellow Moon on the other hand is something completely different, a record that manages to capture a workingman's struggles with the music business and life in general but funneled through the late night vortex of Elvis's loungiest desperado ghost reality. What appears at first to be a novelty based on a jacket that has been well-loved for years by aficionados of weird lost sleeves reveals itself to be an LP's worth of perfect blue collar rockabilly grunge, 11 original songs detailing life in the slow lane of a talented yet strange crooner about 15 years too late for the vibe he's really tapped into - and the honesty of that fade is just remarkably endearing and special. The record opens up in a way similar to the beloved Dane Sturgeon - a man out of time, but perfectly in sync with his own slightly warped reality. Girls, cars, life on the road, lost loves - all pop out of the twilight and into your ears with flangey backing trio hitting such a moody dark persuasion, eerie back-up vocals illuminating the corners and creeping out the back door for another cigarette break. Really beautiful stuff that grows on you, and should appeal to fans of a variety of genres. Can't say I know much about the man aside from a California address that has lead nowhere as far as locating Bob in the 21st century. I have another LP of his from a few years later that showcases him in full impersonator mode - billed as Lil' Elvis - and lacking a little in the creative depth that makes this one so special. Bob if you're out there, certainly get in touch, otherwise hope you enjoy on this yellow moon, and I'll seeya soon.

Our Memories

Monday, February 8, 2010

Take Flight

Found this obscure longhair college compilation this December in a junk store back east, and was really pleased with some tracks on here, as well as that unruly monster bird adorning the jacket! Montgomery Community College has other LPs, as I understand it, but this one has stayed buried longer for some reason. Hailing from what would seem like the winter of '74-'75 come 9 stoney moss-covered pieces of tranquil atmospheric hippie folk. Really nice stuff, overall. Love the opener by Samuel John McCullough Jr. which reminds me of the magnificent Jackdaw LP by Larry Conklin, Diana Donahue's "Colors in the Wind" is a great comp-able piece of haunting female folk-psych, Paul Franzo's guitar soli instrumental is actually kind of devestating in the context of the album's play-through (2nd to last song) - just takes it nicely to a space beyond voices and narrative like you're leaving behind all that for a higher reflection into something else, and finally the ultra-light-Deadhead-panache of "The Drifter" by Mitch Schuck - the only cut that really breaks out into electric rock though granted it's super subtle and a treat if you like low-key doped local Dead-sound-alikes. Perfect atmosphere for a record like this, and a good one for this time of the year when it seems like everything stalls and your mind wants to freeze up like the rest of it... Cheers, J

Colors in the Wind by Diana Donahue