Monday, November 17, 2014

Muck Raking.

From local Memphis TV in 1979 we have Straight Talk With Marge Thrasher...and she is having none of this nonsense. In fact, she's in a right tizzy about it. The Regal couple just seems confused.

Tav handles himself like the consummate Southern Gentleman that he is.

More important for our purposes here...are the "invisible performers" he's talking about. He's almost certainly talking about people like Charlie Feathers and his mentor Junior Kimbrough, Othar Turner, Jim Dickinson, Jessie Mae Hemphill and even our very own Alex Chilton there...and I have no doubt that R.L. Burnside was on his mind.*

 ** Snake Drive written by R.L. Burnside

It should be pointed out that Panther Burns is covering R.L. Burnside more than a decade before Bad Luck City and almost 15 years before Fat Possum Records.

Behind the Magnolia Curtain was released in 1981...the same year, you will of course remember, that The Fall were touring the US behind Grotesque and Slates...while also running through songs that would appear on Hex. You will also know that one of the greatest moments in the history of sound occurs on this tour...Winter..."that's an alcohol free lager...well, anyway I digress."

It was recorded at a show in Memphis, Tennessee...where Mark E Smith met our man Tav. Both were on Rough Trade and The Fall Online is convinced that Mark E Smith was introduced to the song Bourgeois Blues through the Panther Burns cover on Behind the Magnolia Curtain. If he owned that record...he heard Snake Drive.

This proves, beyond all reasonable doubt, that Mark E Smith was indeed completely obsessed with Hill Country Blues.

Here's where I drop the mic...wipe my hands of this nonsense and leave the room a champion.


*If you're a little confused by the geography...Memphis is in the extreme southwest corner of Tennessee bordered by Arkansas to the west and Mississippi to the south. The reason that everybody in Mississippi ends up in Memphis instead of Jackson is that The Delta and the Hill Country are within Memphis's sphere of influence. When they go to town...they don't go to Jackson they go to Memphis.

Special Thanks to Gronmark for the Hasil Adkins reference...which reminded me of Panther Burns...which led to me uncovering this fascinating rocknroll artifact.
** If Mississippi was a sound it would be this's Jim Dickinsons boys, and Burnsides and Kimbroughs...burning Bonaroo down with it. Bonus Track.

Why'on't y'all deal with it!


  1. Great track by The North Mississippi Allstars. R L Burnside only seems to contribute a few "well-well"s.

    1. Sadly at this point he wasn't long for this world.

      Live at Bonnaroo is their finest moment. I love but there records can be a little too caught up in idea of what they're trying to do. Live they can be untouchable...more bottom less theory.

  2. Re: Panther Burns - sounded good to me. I think she had a bloody cheek treating a guest like that. Why do such people think they can just throw insults around and expect folk to take it? Yes, Tav was very cool. Who *is* Marge Thrasher, anyway? For a minute I thought she was a satirical piss-take on Margaret Thatcher! She's real? Can't view first 'Snake Drive'.

    The Fall - majestic. 'His mother was a cleaning lady, she had a large black dog...Austin Maxi...I'll take both of you on!' Those are right proper lyrics.

    Cheers for the geography lesson.

    1. She was a local newsreader/tv personality in Memphis. She was supposed to be known for her manners and bubbly personality. Neither of which is on display here. Ha.

      "I get exhilarated by this kinda music."

      Dammit that you can't hear Snake Drive. They do something really brilliant with it. The rhythm is a drum line...which is very cool because a major element of Hill Country Blues is Drum and Fife music like Othar Turner's. You can see in the other video a bunch of em have drums like you would find in a marching band. Behind the Magnolia Curtain is the product of a wizard.

      "There's one exception...there's one light...and that is the science laaaaw, the science laaaaaaaw." Our Dr. Hillman, who can't even be bothered to post on the football threads anymore, is a Philosopher and I've tried more than once to get him started on the appropriation, by science, of legal's one of his better rants. I think of him every time I hear it.

      That is one of my favorite Fall songs and that's my favorite version.

      I should probably put more maps up here.

    2. In turn, Mr. B., your post had me listening to old Cramps ("one half hillbilly and one half punk") and Alex Chilton albums - feels weird bopping along to "Drug Train" and "Bangkok" at my age, but that stuff still works for me - besides, I was never that fussed about production values. I won't pretend I ever understood exactly what these people and their successors were trying to achieve, but the fact that European sports fans regularly use "Seven Nation Army" as the basis for their chants suggests it struck a chord (or, top limit, two).

    3. Production values are kryptonite to rock n roll.

      I've been listening to I Wish I Could Meet Elvis by Chilton...a little obsessively since I posted this. That and Release Me by Junior Kimbrough and Charlie Feathers.

      Speaking of White Stripes...have you heard their first couple of records...covers like Death Letter and John the Revelator.

  3. Wow, that's one rude lady. Tav certainly is a gentleman, fortunately for Marge. Great track and the 'Axel Chitlin' intro made me laugh out loud. I don't know enough about Tav Falco, I need to find out more.
    'Winter' is, of course, some kind of wonderful. The Tav connection is very interesting.

    1. She makes a Memphis sound...but, she was born in Iowa. Tav brought the yankee out in her.

      Axel Chitlins!

      You must find a copy of Behind the Magnolia Curtain...or be banned from these pages.*

      Winter is one their best grooves...the slashed pieces of guitar... and one of his best rants.

      *Bans are administered for offenses on the whim of the author and enforced for arbitrary lengths...usually five minutes. To get an idea of how painful this punishment can be you could ask the following readers...
      Spliff (twice)
      C (her offense was so grievous that she is on the verge of being banned again at any moment)