enola.be reviews Twinkle Twinkle

Johnny Dowd

Twinkle, Twinkle
Guy Peters – photos: Kat Dalton – January 19, 2018

 

Dat Johnny Dowd geen doorsnee muzikant zou worden, stond ten tijde van zijn solodebuut Wrong Side Of Memphis al vast. Twintig jaar en een dozijn studioalbums later, kan je eigenlijk spreken van een totaalwerk dat, meer nog dan een inkijk in de geest van een eeuwige buitenstaander, een uitgebreide commentaar op de songtraditie is. Weliswaar met Twinkle, Twinkle als nieuw hoogtepunt van vervreemding.

Gedeeltelijk is dat te danken aan het feit dat ’s mans albums van bandaffaires zijn uitgedund tot solo-oefeningen, waarbij de focus gaandeweg verschoof van de klassieke combinatie van stem en gitaar, naar een vorm van bricolagekunst met ranzige beats, pompende bassen, eindeloze effecten en de monotoon uitgespuwde preken van een intussen bijna zeventigjarige experimentalist. Haalde That’s Your Wife On The Back Of My Horse (2015) een nieuw niveau van doorgeslagen dementie en knutseldrift, dan deed Execute American Folklore (2016) daar nog eens een schep bovenop. En Twinkle, Twinkle gaat nog verder, met dat verschil dat Dowd zich deze keer op the public domain gooit.

Dat heeft hij altijd al gedaan, onrechtstreeks, met invloeden uit folk, country, blues, spirituals en hymnes, en de talloze minder en meer expliciete verwijzingen die op platen en tijdens concerten opdoken, maar deze keer brengt hij interpretaties van klassiekers uit de folk- en aanverwante tradities die al even radicaal ontsporen als zijn eigen materiaal. Elf songs, waarvan de meest dateren van begin twintigste of zelfs negentiende eeuw (en eerder), omarmd door twee eigen constructies. Van die laatste is “Execute American Folklore, Again” de overgang met het vorige album. Dat execute zowel vertaald kan worden als “uitvoeren” en als “executeren” is geen toevalligheid. Bij Dowd is het altijd laveren tussen waanzin en bittere ernst (al liggen die vaak vervaarlijk dicht bij elkaar), kwansuis willekeurig rondgestrooide verzen en oneliners. Pruttelende synths, Butthole Surfers-gitaar, kitscherige effecten, doldwaze zang en andere vormen van muzikaal moddergooien. En achteraan “Job 17:11-17”, met de betreffende verzen die gedeclameerd worden als een gelaten terugblik op een sterfbed. Maar ook: “Thank God it’s Friday.”

Daartussen dus elf songs die stuk voor stuk gefileerd en gevandaliseerd worden. Verkrachtingen die gevoelige zielen op stang zullen jagen. Melodieën worden buiten gegooid of op hun kop gezet, waardoor songs soms pas herkend worden wanneer de titels passeren. Evergreens als “The Cuckoo”, “Trouble In Mind” en “House Of The Rising Sun”, die meerdere generaties roots-artiesten inspireerden om er hun draai aan te geven, krijgen nu misschien wel hun meest doldrieste of perverse uitvoeringen ooit, met passages die twijfelen tussen uitspattingen van kinderen die samen met opa losgelaten worden in de studio, en satanische rituelen met zieke stemmetjes en stuiterende bliepjes.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Litte Star”. Miljoenen kinderen werden ermee in slaap gewiegd. Niet hier. Dit is de Poltergeist-versie, met Dowds zombievoordracht in een coalitie met een rudimentair ritme en spookybackings. Of “Rock Of Ages”, een combinatie van stompende hardrock en mislukt 80s experiment. En soms duiken er ritmes op, zoals in “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad”, die, mits een paar kleine aanpassingen, klaar zijn voor zweterige underground-fuiven, met Dowd als de hogepriester van het bacchanaal. Verder krijg je vooral zin om dit eens op te leggen wanneer je ouders passeren, want ook zij zijn ooit opgegroeid met songs als “Tom Dooley” (geen murder ballad die zo leutig klinkt) en het jolig walsende “Oh, My Darling, Clementine”.

Het wordt steeds moeilijker om nog iets nieuws te vertellen over Dowds oeuvre, dat intussen al twee decennia z’n eigenzinnige koers volgt, maar nu misschien verder dan ooit verwijderd is van wat conservatieve rootsliefhebbers verstaan onder hun geliefde genre. Kan wel zijn, maar tegelijkertijd ben je getuige van een onverschrokkenheid en daad van creativiteit die ook nu weer ontzag afdwingt. Artiesten als Dowd noemen we soms outsiders, de ongeleide projectielen, de luis in de pels, maar ze zijn meer dan dat. Het zijn de smaakmakers (ook al lijkt het soms smaakloos) en avonturiers, die net door hun baldadigheid nieuwe uithoeken en invullingen vinden, aantonen dat de traditie eindeloos verrijkt en vernieuwd kan worden van binnenuit.

Dowd speelt op 4 februari in de Rock Lobster (Antwerpen). Om een of andere reden heeft hij meer vrienden in Nederland. Daar speelt hij negen keer. Alle data zijn te vinden op de website.

 – Original article

Johnny Dowd

Twinkle, Twinkle

Guy Peters – photos: Kat Dalton – January 19, 2018

The fact that Johnny Dowd would not become an average musician was already confirmed at the time of his solo debut Wrong Side Of Memphis . Twenty years and a dozen studio albums later, you can actually speak of a total work that, more than an insight into the mind of an eternal outsider, is an extensive commentary on the song tradition. Admittedly with Twinkle, Twinkle as a new high point of alienation.

Partly this is due to the fact that man’s albums of band affairs have been thinned into solo exercises, with the focus gradually shifted from the classic combination of voice and guitar, to a form of bricolage art with rancid beats, pumping basses, endless effects. and the monotonously spewed sermons of an almost 70-year-old experimentalist. When That’s Your Wife On The Back Of My Horse (2015) reached a new level of knock-on dementia and craft drift, Execute American Folklore (2016) did a great job. And Twinkle, Twinkle goes even further, with the difference that Dowd this time on the public domain throws.

He has always done that, indirectly, with influences from folk, country, blues, spirituals and hymns, and the countless less and more explicit references that appeared on records and during concerts, but this time he brings interpretations of classics from the folk and related traditions that derail as radically as his own material. Eleven songs, most of which date from the early twentieth or even nineteenth century (and earlier), embraced by two own constructions. Of the latter, “Execute American Folklore, Again” is the transition with the previous album. That execute can be translated as “execute” and “execute” is not a coincidence. At Dowd it is always laziness between madness and bitter seriousness (although they are often very close to each other), quandary randomly scattered verses and one-liners. Prettling synths, Butthole Surfers guitar, kitschy effects, crazy vocals and other forms of musical mud throwing. And in the back “Job 17: 11-17”, with the verses in question that are to be pronounced as a resigned look back at a deathbed. But also: “Thank God it’s Friday.”

In between, eleven songs that are all filmed and vandalized. Rape that will hunt sensitive souls on rods. Melodies are thrown out or turned upside down, so that songs are sometimes only recognized when the titles pass.Evergreens like “The Cuckoo”, “Trouble In Mind” and “House Of The Rising Sun”, which inspired several generations of roots artists to turn it around, now get their most doldrieste (unbridled-Ed.) or perverse performances ever, with passages who doubt between the indiscretions of children who are released together with grandpa in the studio, and satanic rituals with sick voices and bouncing bleeps.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Millions of children were lulled to sleep with them. Not here. This is the Poltergeist version, with Dowd’s zombie presentation in a coalition with a rudimentary rhythm and spooky backings. Or “Rock Of Ages”, a combination of punching hard rock and unsuccessful 80s experiment. And sometimes there are rhythms, like in “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad”, which, with a few minor adjustments, are ready for sweaty underground parties, with Dowd as the high priest of the Bacchanal. Furthermore, you especially want to impose this once your parents pass, because they also grew up with songs like “Tom Dooley” (no murder ballad that sounds so nice) and the jolly rolling “Oh, My Darling, Clementine” .

It is getting more and more difficult to tell something new about Dowd’s oeuvre, which has been following its own self-willed course for two decades, but is now perhaps more than ever removed from what conservative roots enthusiasts understand by their beloved genre. Can be, but at the same time you are witness to a fearlessness and act of creativity that again commands awe. Artists like Dowd are sometimes called outsiders, the unguided missiles, the louse in the fur, but they are more than that. It is the tastemakers (even though it sometimes seems tasteless) and adventurers, who find new corners and fillings just because of their bastardism, show that the tradition can be endlessly enriched and renewed from the inside.

Dowd plays on the 4th of February in the Rock Lobster (Antwerp). For some reason he has more friends in the Netherlands. There he plays nine times. All dates can be found on the website .

 – Translation by Google

Indebanvan reviews Twinkle Twinkle

 

JOHNNY DOWD-TWINKLE, TWINKLE

High fun factor

Making a cover album the umpteenth highlight in your impressive oeuvre. Johnny Dowd succeeds. It should be said that the performances on “Twinkle, Twinkle” are just as idiosyncratic as their own compositions.

EXECUTE AMERICAN FOLKLORE, AGAIN

The opening track ‘Execute American Folklore, Again’, which is completely out of hand, is related to the predecessor ” Execute American Folklore “. You would almost think that Dowd is still politically active in his old age.

FIGHT THE POWER

This previous album was strongly hip-hop oriented. There is no question on “Twinkle, Twinkle”. Although Johnny Dowd quotes Public Enemy (“Fight the power”) in the opening song. Vocally, the Bluesman appears old-fashioned with its cross-section of American traditionals. Although American …

The song to which the album title refers, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, is a poem by the English poet Jane Taylor on a French melody. (‘Ah! Vous dirai-you, maman’).

MELODIC HIGHLIGHT

Also ‘The Cuckoo’ has been adopted from England. It gets a solid beat from Johnny Dowd. That does not matter. Singer Anna Coogan manages to make it a melodic highlight.

‘Trouble In Mind’ (performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, among others), gets an Industrial approach from Johnny Dowd on which a synthesizer is also flogged.

FUNKY JOHNNY DOWD

‘Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad ‘(which we know from Woody Guthrie and The Grateful Dead) has never sounded as funky as it is now. Also ‘Red River Valley’, one of the Top 100 Western Songs, gets a funky treatment.

The Christian hymn ‘Rock of Ages’ is in the hands of Johnny Dowd completely of this time. ‘John the Revelator’, a primeval tone number, gets a respectful performance.

HIGH FUN FACTOR

On ‘House of the Rising Sun’ the hiphopper Johnny Dowd pops up again. Together with ‘Tom Dooley’ and ‘Oh, My Darling, Clementine’ it makes sure that “Twinkle, Twinkle” enters the books as the album from Johnny Dowd’s oeuvre with by far the highest fun factor.

An album on which even the darkest chapter in Job’s biblical book can result in a funky ode to the Friday.

“Twinkle, Twinkle” is available from January 12, 2018.

Johnny Dowd-Twinkle, Twinkle

Tracklist:
Execute American Folklore, Again
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
The Cuckoo
Trouble in Mind
Going Down the Road Feeling Bath
St. James Infirmary Blues
Red River Valley
Rock of Ages
John the Revelator
Tom Dooley
House of the Rising Sun
Oh, My Darling, Clementine
Job 17: 11-17

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre : Blues , Folk
Label : Mother Jinx Records
Country : USA
Format : CD
Date: January 12, 2018, 00:00

 – Translation by Google

 – Original article

Twinkle Twinkle Pere Ubu

important announcement?—my record of public domain tunes is now recorded[for the second time-the first version was awful]—it will be called [i think] TWINKLE TWINKLE–it’s pretty wack in a folky kind of way—look for me at the grammies—hang down yer head tom dooley yo

– Johnny Dowd

UPCOMING TOUR

Big news: I have some dates in November opening for one of my all-time favorite bands, Pere Ubu!

November 8: Club Cafe; Pittsburgh, PA
November 9: Hill Country DC; Washington, DC
November 21: Woodward Theater; Cincinnati, OH

Ticket links on my Tours page here.

Also, my new record, “Twinkle, Twinkle,” is being mixed and will be released in December. I’m heading to Europe in January.

See you down the road.

Johnny Dowd

Johnny Dowd: new album “Twinkle, Twinkle”

Johnny Dowd has finished recording an album with public domain tunes. It might be called Twinkle, Twinkle and will be released on his own label Mother Jinx Records:

Howdy all. I have finished tracking my new record, tentatively titled Twinkle, Twinkle. All the songs are in the public domain — “Tom Dooley,” “St. James Infirmary,” “Red River Valley,” “Rock of Ages” . . . you get the picture. It features Anna Coogan and Mike Edmondson on vocals. If you ever wondered what folk music would sound like in an electronic setting, this is it. I’ll release it on my own label, Mother Jinx Records. Not sure when. I’ll keep you posted.

 

HCTF review of Execute American Folklore.

 – Original Article

 

 

 

Execute American Folklore Tour – Week 3 and Then Some

We weren’t there (tragedy!), so all photos courtesy of Mike,Anna,Park and various Facebook Friends. Kinda in order, maybe not, but you get the picture…

First and often, the band steals it’s own soul,selfie-style:

And always, you gotta get from here to there:

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Then Johnny Dowd and the Sex Robots Rock the House:

For down time, we have:

Posers

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Camels:

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Cops:

Tourists:

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And lots and lots of sitting around:

Eventually, though, Real Life intrudes, flying everybody home:

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The Independent reviews Execute American Folklore

Cover_Execute

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  • By Andy Gill
                                                                            September 8th, 2016

Johnny Dowd – Execute American Folklore – 4/5

Download this: Whiskey Ate My Brain; Sexual Revolution; Last Laugh; Funkalicious

Imagine if Hank Williams had mutated into Captain Beefheart, acquiring a bunch of primitive electronic equipment along the way, and you’ll get some idea of where Johnny Dowd is at on Execute American Folklore. The songs, narrated in Dowd’s ornery, fatalist drawl, feature his usual cast of hapless characters adrift in a world of mordant ill-fortune, but this time they are driven by mutant funk grooves crafted with buzzing, quacking synthesisers. “Unease And Deviance” sets the tone, harsh drum-machine driving its account of “twisted terror, vicious pleasure”; before the protagonists of “Sexual Revolution” and “Rhumba In The Park” suffer their below-the-belt blows. But balancing this is the maniacal glee with which Dowd recounts the detriments of booze and drugs in “Whiskey Ate My Brain”, climaxing in the album’s most wonderfully tortured burst of guitar noise. Gloriously deviant.

 – Original Article