Saturday, January 11, 2020

It Came From Memphis (CD)

Of course, Memphis has always had a place in my heart as the home of rock'n'roll, with Sun Records recording and releasing Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins and more, as well as the pre-rock'n'roll bluesmen like Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King. When I visited there in 2014, I damn near fell in love with the city - its history combined with a great current r'n'r community, excellent food, and amazing sites all blended together in a siren call attempting to keep us from ever leaving!

Since then I have learned more about the city from multiple books including Robert Gordon's compendium to this CD, also titled It Came From Memphis (some editions of the book included the CD, although mine did not, unfortunately - I just got this for Xmas - thanks Eileen!). This record compiles many of the characters that Gordon referenced and revered in his book, from legendary wacko r'n'r DJ Dewey Phillips to local rockers to old school blues artist to photographer William Eggleston, who closes the album with an ambient audio piece.

I love the variation included here, from the wild, high energy, soul/blues/rock'n'roll of Mud Boy and the Neutrons (one of the many outfits that includes mythical Memphis musician Jim Dickinson) to the  fantastic 1 string guitar bluesman Moses Williams (with a baby crying throughout the entire performance), to the acapella Sid Selvidge to the well known old school blues cat Furry Lewis, to the Jason and the Scorchers-ish Flash and the Memphis Casuals to the tremelo'd guitar and organ-fueled moody garage rock from the Avengers.

From there we also get numbers from Cliff Jackson and Jellean Delk with the Naturals doing a hilariously terrific blues, pure noise (in a good way) from Drive Inn Danny with the Killers From Space, amazing one-woman blues from Jesse Mae Hemphill (love all of her stuff!), pure mania from Ross Johnson, Booker T and the MG's-styled soulful grooviness from the Martinis, Shaggs-like outta tuneness from Leesa Aldridge, wonderful fife'n'drums from Othar Turner (as a side note, I knew nothing about fife'n'drums recording until the first Panther Burns LP and am now sorta fascinated by its oddness), kinda chaotic 70's rock from Moloch, Bobbie Gentry-like crooning from ex-Panther Burns/Hell Cats Lorette Velvette, and rockin' organ-driven funk from Big Ass Driver!

There's a fantastically detailed booklet included - also from Robert Gordon, natch - with crappy Xeroxed photos laid out in early punk rock style, but with tons of hip info. Both the book and this CD are highly recommended!