July 2009

Jim Kweskin Gets Old Tymey

The political polemics that dominated so much of the ‘60s folk revival didn’t necessarily reach through every group’s discography – and thankfully so. There’s only so much heavy handed, deep lyrical content that one can digest. That being said, though, the opposite side of the coin is that a band might completely disregard earthly concerns and simply create a slew of happy-go-lucky tracks that function only as entertainment. There’s a time and place for such work, but occasionally a ludicrous, sun shiney outlook on life becomes tiresome if not obviously trite. Jim Kweskin and his Jug Band are able to come across as a group of playful, citified hicks. And while there’s nothing too difficult to deal with on any of the band’s albums, each disc is considered a folk stepping stone for the decade.

Charlie Poole: Mountain Reel

The history of American music is strewn with songwriters whose writing influenced the future of whatever genre they worked in. And while those contributions shouldn’t be made to seem slight under any circumstances, they way in which some of these folks lived has become equally important. Everyone knows Leadbelly did time. Son House did as well. But more over, folks know stuff like Hank Williams died in the back of a car being chauffeured to a gig – he was most likely half in the bag at the time. But before Williams hit the bottle, Charlie Poole and his groups sung about gettin’ loaded and have a roe on occasion.

Commander Cody: Somewhere in the Ether

Maintaining a pretty consistent persona over time, Commander Cody, who finds himself accompanied by any assortment of overly competent players that he’s seen fit to replace the Lost Planet Airmen with, has returned after a brief hiatus since gracing shelves with a 2006 live album. While the music might not be exactly the same as in years past, the same basic influences are in play – as one should expect. Anyone looking for a career defining pronouncement is probably going to be disappointed. After all, the Commander already took it to the man (the country A&R man at least) during the ‘70s. And while this new disc, Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers, isn’t going to please everyone, the die-hards will appreciate it.