Twinkle Reviews

Blabber ‘n’ Smoke

A Glasgow view of Americana and related music and writings

Johnny Dowd. Twinkle Twinkle.

twinklecoverforsite460wJohnny Dowd continues to eviscerate Americana on this wonderful collection of popular songs from the past which are chewed up and spat out by Dowd in his unmistakable style.  The album opens with a manifesto of sorts on the updated Execute American Folklore (Again)and it’s hard not to express a chuckle when this Residents like  caustic surge of electronica mutates into  Dowd’s delivery of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We all know this lullaby but here it’s a bad dream vividly reimagined, more akin to Der Struwwelpeter than Disney with Anna Coogan’s operatic voice adding to the disquiet. Like a mad scientist let loose in a laboratory of steam punk synths Dowd plays all the instruments on the album; farts, parps, clangs and ominous hisses permeate the disc sounding like Krautrock meets the Clangers at times. Songs such as Going Down The Road Feeling Bad, Red River Valley and Tom Dooley are punched into submission. St. James Infirmary Blues is spoken like a beat poet suffering from a benzo famine and John The Revelator is full on biblical fury as the synthesized sounds beep and warble while there’s more biblical darkness on Job 17:11-17 with Dowd coming across like a Manson type prophesiser although the song morphs from its biblical origins into an electro funk invitation to a Friday night funky party.  Dowd’s reworkings of these songs are bizarre and challenging but  he’s  continuing in the tradition of others, taking the songs and adding his own distinctive twist. I challenge anyone not to listen to his take on My Darling Clementine without a smile appearing. Website

 – Original Article

Twinkle, Twinkle by Johnny Dowd

From TheSampler,Radio New Zealand 27 March 2018

Johnny Dowd sings a few family favourites – as you’ve never heard them before. Nick Bollinger wonders whether it was worth the risk.

Johnny Dowd

Johnny Dowd Photo: (c) Kat Dalton

Don’t look now, but I think we’ve got trouble. The folk club has just been invaded by a floor singer with a questionable sense of pitch, and I don’t know what that instrument is he’s holding but it don’t look like a banjo.

The singer is, in fact, Johnny Dowd, and he’s artist I’ve admired ever since his first record Wrong Side Of Memphis came out 20 years ago: a set of his own southern gothic ballads, delivered in a voice bordering on the tuneless and accompanying himself with a rough but effective guitar.

Twinkle, Twinkle

Twinkle, Twinkle Photo: supplied

The whole thing seemed risky, yet it worked, as though a character in a Tom Waits song had seized the means of production and made his own record. Dowd has kept making his own records – fifteen at last count – and kept taking risks. He’s flirted with different settings – including lounge jazz and, believe it or not, prog rock – but the music has always been imprinted with his dark, Bukowski-esque world view. Lately he’s been trying his hand at electronica. Oh, and folk songs.

‘Tom Dooley’, the murder ballad cheerfully popularised by the Kingston Trio, is a song Johnny Dowd might almost have written himself, and no one has ever made the narrator seem more convincingly psychopathic as he does during the spoken verses. But if that one sits quite comfortably in Dowd’s oeuvre, his ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’is truly disturbing, and it’s not the only time Dowd does serious violence to a song held by many to be sacred. He also has a crack at the popular 18th century hymn ‘Rock Of Ages’ that goes for hip-hop and the hymnal simultaneously and I’m not sure either survives.

It’s startling, absurd and ultimately a little exhausting.

Still, an artist who doesn’t take risks is less likely to fail but by the same token is only going to give you the same stuff over and over again. Dowd is a risk-taker, so it’s always different.

Twinkle, Twinkle takes a risk and doesn’t quite carry it off, which doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth attempting, or that this experiment hasn’t simply cleared the creative paths to make way for something extraordinary. I’ll be listening to Dowd’s next one anyway, just in case.

Twinkle, Twinkle is available on Mother Jinx

 – Original Article

Live @ The Dock with My Darling Clementine


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JOHNNY DOWD

Johnny Dowd (born March 29, 1948 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an American alternative country musician. Typical of his style are experimental, noisy breaks in his songs and strong gothic (in the sense of dark and gloomy) elements in the lyrics as well as in the music. There is also a strong undercurrent of black humor and the absurd in his work.

He currently resides in Ithaca, NY.

Although his early albums were most celebrated in the alternative country community, he has never quite fit into any particular genre.

The Dock: Tickets here

 

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

enola.be reviews Execute American Folklore – Johnny Dowd tonite at The Haunt opening for Mofos

 

banner_jdmofoTonight at The Haunt, opening for the Mofos at 9pm

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Johnny Dowd

 Songs In The Key Of D, Vol. 12. Onze favoriete outsider is terug met zijn nieuwste worp, die de ingeslagen koers van That’s Your Wife On The Back Of My Horse (met voorsprong de beste albumtitel van 2015) verderzet. De liefhebber weet wat te doen.

Volgend jaar zal Dowds solocarrière de symbolische kaap van twintig jaar bereiken. Best opmerkelijk want de veteraan, die bij zijn debuut al werd beschouwd als een ouwe lul, houdt er een indrukwekkende productiviteit op na en blijft regelmatig Amerikaanse en Europese podia afschuimen met zijn steeds eigenzinniger wordende muziek. Wrong Side Of Memphis en zijn recentste wapenfeit liggen bij een eerste beluistering misschien ver uit elkaar, maar eigenlijk is niets minder waar. Het zijn albums die getuigen van dezelfde radicale visie en zijn een aanval op rootsgenres en zones ver daarbuiten.

Voor Execute American Folklore lanceerde Dowd een crowdfunding-campagne, die met succes werd afgerond. Je weet dan ook dat je getrakteerd zal worden op een feest van onzin en transgressie, van kitscherige funk en voze bluesresten, van op z’n kop gezette gemeenplaatsen, innuendo en ironievrije egodocumenten. Hij had er net zo goed bij kunnen lopen in een grasgroen trainingpak en een fluokleurige zweetband. Het zal Dowd allemaal worst wezen. Hij bepaalt de regels in een bonte wereld die geen toegevingen doet, al moet je soms, ook nu, toegeven dat de man regelmatig wat oorwurmen uit de mouwen schudt.

Veertien songs jaagt hij er weer door, in minder dan veertig minuten. Stilistisch is dit een verderzetting van That’s Your Wife…, wat betekent dat hij zowat alles zelf opnam: bas, gitaar, toetsen en heel veel plastieken beats. In opener “Unease And Deviance”, eigenlijk een mooie definitie van z’n werk, dreigt het even uit te monden in het thema van “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air”.Met iele synths, een rudimentaire beat, onnozele breaks en Dowds vieze nonkel-verzen. En zo klinkt het wel vaker, alsof hij in stukken als “3.29.48” (zijn geboortedatum) en “Modern Woman” zit rond te hossen met een XL-beatbox en een zak vol kromme rhymes.

Elders vind je nog knikjes richting rock-‘n-roll swagger, maar dan wel nadat het grondig door de mangel gehaald werd. “Sexual Revolution” heeft meer gemeen met The Butthole Surfers en Ween dan met de rootshelden waar hij vroeger mee vergeleken werd. “Funkalicious” zet Bootsy Collins bij The Residents. Of ook: “Last Laugh”, eentje voor zijn moeder die aanvankelijk bijna klinkt als 80’s INXS.En “Rhumba In The Park”, een uitje richting exotica dat klinkt als een antwoord op “Worried Mind” uit z’n vroege klassieker Pictures From Life’s Other Side. Maar het kan altijd nog zotter: tijdens “Mr. Muggles” verwacht je dat het Beverly Hills Cop--thema elk moment zal opduiken en mag gastzangeres Anna Coogan voor theatrale franjes zorgen, terwijl de opgefokte titelsong knettergek barakkenkabaal van de meest gesjeesde soort is.

Het is duidelijk: deze halvegare vaart een koers die even desastreus als onweerstaanbaar is. Want geef nu toe: hoeveel artiesten geraken ermee weg om hun naam te laten scanderen? Jaren geleden gebeurde het al op het podium, nu ook in het afsluitende “World Without Me”. En toch kan je niet anders dan meegrijnzen bij zoveel idioterie. “Whiskey Ate My Brain” luidt het elders. Dat moet dan wel, maar het leverde intussen wel een onnavolgbaar oeuvre op. Go, Johnny, go!

Dowd is van 12 tot 30 oktober op tournee in Europa. Hij speelt drie keer in Nederland en een keer in Belgie: op 29 oktober in GC De Melkerij (Zemst).

 – Original Article

 

Execute American Folklore

Guy Peters – Photos: Cat Dalton – September 28, 2016

Songs In The Key Of D, Vol. 12. Our favorite outsider is back with his latest steps that the chosen course of That’s Your Wife On The Back Of My Horse verderzet (by far the best album title of 2015). The lover knows what to do.

Next year Dowds solo career will reach the symbolic milestone of twenty years.Quite remarkable for the veteran, who was already considered his debut as an old dick, does an impressive productivity after and remains a regular American and European stages skimming his increasingly idiosyncratic becoming music. Wrong Side Of Memphis and his latest feat lie with a first listening may be far apart, but really is nothing further from the truth. The albums are witnessing the same radical vision and attacking roots genres and areas beyond.

For Execute American Folklore Dowd launched a crowdfunding campaign, which was successfully completed. You also know that you will be treated to a feast of nonsense and transgression of kitsch funk and blues rotten remnants of upside regular platitudes, innuendo and irony-free personal documents. He had just as much to be able to walk in a grass green trainingpak and a fluorescent-colored sweatband. The Dowd will all care less. He sets the rules in a colorful world that does not compromise, although sometimes, even now, admit that the man regularly what earwigs shakes up their sleeves.

Fourteen songs he hunts again through in less than forty minutes. Stylistically, this is a continuation of That’s Your Wife … which means he just recorded everything himself: bass, guitar, keyboards and many plastics beats. In opener “unease And Deviance”, actually a good definition of his work, as it threatens to result in the theme of “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” .With sterile synths, a rudimentary beat, silly breaks and Dowds dirty uncle -verzen. And so it sounds more as if he were in pieces like “3:29:48” (his birth) and “Modern Woman” hossen sitting around with an XL-beatbox and a bag full of crooked rhymes.

Elsewhere you can find nods towards rock and roll swagger, but only after it was thoroughly mangled. “Sexual Revolution” has more in common with The Butthole Surfers and Ween then the roots heroes in which he was once against. “Funkalicious” put Bootsy Collins by The Residents. Or again: “Last Laugh”, one for his mother, who initially almost sounds like 80’s INXS.En “Rhumba In The Park”, an outing direction of exotica that sounds like a response to “Worried Mind” from his early classic Pictures From Life’s Other Side. But it is still more foolish: during “Mr.Muggles “you expect it to Beverly Hills Cop -theme will emerge anytime and guest singer Anna Coogan may provide theatrical fringes while the raised title song is crazy barracks hubbub of the most dropout species.

It is clear that this screwball sails a course as disastrous as irresistible. Admit it: How many artists get away with to have their name chant? Years ago it happened already on stage, now in the final “World Without Me”. And yet you can not help but meegrijnzen with so much idiocy. “Whiskey Ate My Brain” is the elsewhere. It must then, but meanwhile gave it an incomparable oeuvre. Go, Johnny, go!

Dowd has 12 to October 30 on tour in Europe. He played three times in the Netherlands and once in Belgium: on October 29 in GC The Dairy (Zemst).

damusic.be reviews The Dairy show

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 – Original Article