Da Music reviews Twinkle Twinkle

 

New Album

Hoewel je met Johnny Dowd uiteraard nooit weet, geeft het openingsnummer van ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ al aan waar de man naartoe wil: een vervolg maken op zijn ‘Execute American Folklore‘, maar dan nog verder doorgedreven.

Dat uit zich dan in de instrumentkeuze (drummachine, synth, gitaar en de stemmen van hemzelf en Anna Coogan), maar nog meer in de liedjes, die hij hier brengt. Want het betreft hier grotendeels covers van (traditionele) folksongs. Alleen kleedt hij die zodanig anders in (of uit) dat enkel nog het melodietje overblijft.

Trouble In Mind verdrinkt bijvoorbeeld in een modderpoel van synths waarover Dowd dan zijn grafrede afsteekt. Als Belg ben je uiteraard niet meteen vertrouwd met al die “klassiekers” als Going Down The Road Feeling Bad, dat dan wel een min of meer vrolijk deuntje meekrijgt, maar toch bijzonder zwartgallig overkomt, zoals dat eigenlijk met alle songs het geval is; niet in het minst met het eerder al vermelde Execute American Folklore, Again, de enige song van zijn eigen hand, waarin hij van alles “radio-active bile” maakt.

Maar naargeestig is de man allerminst. Want de humor druipt af van iets als Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. Wrange humor, dat dan weer wel, maar desalniettemin humor. Ongetwijfeld zal hij hiermee op lange tenen trappen, want de Amerikaanse traditie, mag daar wel aan geraakt worden? Wie Dowd een beetje kent, weet daarop trouwens al meteen diens antwoord.

Dit zijn gewoon hoogst originele versies van songs als Tom DooleyHouse Of The Rising Sun (nee, het origineel is niet van The Animals) of Oh, My Darling Clementine, liedjes die hier dan wel iets bekender in de oren klinken. En dat hij de plaat afsluit met een citaat uit de bijbel zegt veel over waar hij vandaan komt; de manier waarop zegt dan weer iets over wat hij daarover denkt.

Johnny Dowd is nooit voor een gat te vangen geweest en bewijst hiermee dat zijn liedje – of het nu zijn eigen liedje dan wel een cover is – nog lang niet uitgezongen is. Deze man staat voor alles open en daarvoor kan je alleen maar bewondering hebben. Dat de muziek ook bijna kinderlijk boeiend blijft, is dan een niet te versmaden pluspunt.

Johnny Dowd trekt in januari en februari door Nederland, maar zal in België slechts één keer te zien zijn.

 – Original source

Although you never know with Johnny Dowd, the opening track of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ already indicates where the man wants to go: making a sequel to his ‘ Execute American Folklore ‘, but then even further.

This then manifests itself in the choice of instrument (drum machine, synth, guitar and the voices of himself and Anna Coogan), but even more in the songs that he brings here. Because this mainly concerns covers of (traditional) folk songs. Only he who clothes in (or out) so different that only the melody remains.

Trouble In Mind , for example, drowns in a mud pool of synths about which Dowd then juts off his eulogy. As a Belgian, you obviously are not immediately familiar with all those “classics” as Going Down The Road Feeling Bad , which then gets a more or less cheerful tune, but still comes across as extremely black, as is actually the case with all songs; not in the least with the aforementioned Execute American Folklore, Again , the only song of his own hand, in which he makes everything “radio-active bio”.

But the man is by no means gloomy. Because the humor drips with something like Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star .Srange humor, that again, but nonetheless humor. Undoubtedly he will be keen on long toes, because the American tradition, can it be touched? Anyone who knows Dowd a little bit knows his answer right away.

These are just highly original versions of songs like Tom Dooley , House Of The Rising Sun (no, the original is not from The Animals) or Oh, My Darling Clementine , songs that sound a bit more familiar here. And that he closes the record with a quote from the Bible says a lot about where he comes from; the way in which then says something about what he thinks about it.

Johnny Dowd has never been able to catch a hole and proves that his song – whether it’s his own song or a cover – is by no means sung. This man is open to everything and for that you can only admire. The fact that the music also remains almost childishly fascinating is a plus point.

Johnny Dowd travels through the Netherlands in January and February , but will only be seen once in Belgium.

 – Translation by Google

Heart of the Beast with Pere Ubu

 

 

The show was about as well matched with an opening act as you could imagine—the rare appearance in these parts of Johnny Dowd, an authentic outsider voice in his own right, doing his own idiosyncratic  thing.

Raised in Texas and Oklahoma, living for decades in Ithaca, NY, he’s

created a bunch of weird spoken word, warped country, and neo-blues recordings that have lately been accompanied by the incongruous sounds of a drum

machine. Like Jim White (with whom he once formed a band a decade ago, Hellwood), he blends absurdist spoken word poetry and unexpected music for something that like Ubu, is in the tradition of Beat poets, jazz hipsters, and street corner savants.

Rather than being menacing as Thomas was capable of being, Dowd, 69, was goodnatured and laughed along with the absurdity, allowing his guitarist Mike Edmondson to begin with an a cappella Joe Walsh, “Life’s Been Good” (when clearly his life as a rock figure has been something else) before the sudden jolt of “I Crawled Up the Rat’s Ass.”

As in the handmade poetry books he sold on site, he could come up with sharp lines that stood out. He pretended to be a funk god as “The White Dolomite,” and deconstructed “Freddy’s Dead” for his own purposes. He and Edmondson almost seemed more interested in telling the dumb jokes between songs.

They even made fun of the hopelessly dated disco-era drum machine that backed most of the songs, suggesting we “give the drummer some.” But they won over the crowd enough to have them sing along to “I love the bright lights of Washington, DC; I wanna be a star like Conway Twitty.”

He ended the semi-sincere a cappella of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” before rocking out with a version of it, encouraging a gesture that  contrasted mightily with the headliner’s scowl.

 – Oringinal article by Roger Catlin, photos by Richie Downs

 

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Then it’s the PEre Ubu show and merch sales. Only thing lost on this trip: Johnny’s moustache. It was one snoop too many.

A quick shout out to  Franks Diner, latest of the fine diner finds on the road with Johnny Dowd.

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

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webclip_the-independentAlbum reviews: Wilco – Wilco Schmilco, Jack White – Acoustic Recordings, MIA – AIM, and more

  • 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

damusic.be reviews The Dairy show

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 – Original Article