Reviews: Junior Parker's 'Tomorrow Never Knows' & CA Quintet's 'A Trip Thru Hell'
Currently digging...Junior Parker: Tomorrow Never Knows
- from the underrated 'Love Ain't Nothin' But a Business Goin' On' LP
. A great little record, featuring 3 - count 'em - funk-blues Beatles covers: Taxman, (very funky electric piano/drums break up-front), Lady Madonna and this, Revolver's almighty closing acid apocolypse 'Tomorrow Never Knows.' With a sparse, laidback, droning arrangement and simple guitar, electric piano & bass figures repeating throughout, Parker's take on Lennon's masterpiece comes on little like Spacemen 3's more chilled out moments or the Velvet Underground's third LP, and his measured, soulful vocal brings a warm, re-assuring quality to the lyric, stripping the Tim Leary inspired mumbo-jumbo of Lennon's peering-down-at -the-squares psychedelic sneer. Of all The Beatles material, one would assume that 'Tomorrow Never Knows' ranks pretty near the top of the 'Impossible To Cover In A Meaningful Way' league (just behind 'Revolution 9'), but Parker pulls it off beautifully, effortlessly making TNK - a song so closely identified with it's author- very much his own.
What is perhaps most unusual about the recording is that it's is achieved without an ounce of the over-the-top freaky-deaky fuzz-sploitation production excess that characterises many of the 'Bluesman Goes Psychedelic' hippy dollar chasing LPs of the late 60s/early 70s. As great as the best of those LPs are (MuddyWater's 'Electric Mud', Howlin' Wolf's ' This Is Howlin' Wolf's New Album' amongst others) there is something about the minmalist, stripped back execution of Parker's 'Tomorrow Never Knows' - arguably the DEFINITIVE BRITISH PSYCHE track - which is more impressive, and more geniunely psychedelic, than the afforementioned LPs, which are often a case of Howlin Wolfs in Psychedelic Sheeps clothing. A really magical recording, highly recommended.CA Quintet: Trip Thru Hell LP
- Wonderfully, a record that fullfills everything it's title and sleeve promises, as long as you except Hell as imagined by a buncha no-goodnik punk kids raised on cheap-ass B-Movie Horror flicks and dope. A smorgasboard of Hammer Horor gothic church organ, demented wah-wah fuzz guitar, wildly phased drum solos, un-earthly choirs, Spaghetti Western mariachi brass, tolling funeral bells, screaming, and occasional bursts of grungy garage rock, 'Trip Thru Hell' is one of those records which one imagines falls short of it's creators original weed-addled grand designs, but in falling short somehow far exceeds. It's a no-budget Ed Wood, Plan 9 From Outta Space of an LP, the kind of LP that with the 'right' producer and some fat record company dollars payrolling it probably woulda come off with a little more class and a little more style (I don't wanna say 'A little more Commercial Potential,' I don't suppose you'ld find a huge market for a concept garage rock LP about the desecent into hell if Timbaland or Dangermouse produced it) , but fer sure with alot less character and junkshop spirit. This ain't no easy ride, brothers and sisters. You're gonna get your finger nails dirty diggin' this grave.
That said, there are calmer, funkier moments here that could almost be Axelrod (who woulda done a great job on this, a la 'Mass In F Minor') or Morricone productions, especially the opening 9-minute 'Trip Thru Hell - Part 1,' but more importantly there's a wide-eyed naivety and gonzo gung-ho attitude that -despite it being a terrifying wig-out of post-death horror - makes it in an odd way a rather charming, loveable LP. 'Trip Thru Hell' is a cheap-ass exploitation type of affair, but there are so many ideas and so much ambition here that you begin to marvel at it, you begin to marvel at how the CA Quintet - whoever the hell they are, I'll Google 'em later - coulda just stuck to playing 'Wooly Bully' at local Frat Parties, but instead went for something much BRAVER, went for the ADVENTURE, despite the fact they clearly did so without the resources to pull an epic like this off. Fans of Axelrod-era Electric Prunes, psyche rock in general or just pure harum-scarum Halloween shlock should defiinately check it out.
Labels: Funk, Psychedelia