Friday, 22 March 2013
Top 102 Albums⁺ No 33 Red Devil
Top 102 Albums⁺ No 33
Red Devil - Tav Falco's Panther Burns
Polish! Bah! The Astounding Panther Burns and majordomo Mr Tav Falco judder to life in a frenzy that remains suspended somewhere between cohesion and collapse. A defiant sideshow pitching their tent in the ditch rather than the arena the Luminous Panther Burns have produced a still growing body of work since their first single in 1980. 33 years of ditch digging and those Memphian swamps show no signs of drying out.
This album comes from the late eighties, which was when I discovered the Incandescent Panther Burns, due in large part to the presence in their midst of on LX Chilton who was a Big Star in his day. Indeed Tav Falco and Chilton apparently became acquainted when Tav, who is also a filmmaker, was shooting documentary footage of the making of Chilton's Like Flies on Sherbert. Chilton's Bach's Bottom and LFOS and the live performances of Jim Dickinson's infamous Mud Boy and the Neutrons were the closest thing to a blueprint for the Unapproachable Panther Burns. They played, and still play, raucous rockabilly, blues, country, mambo, funk and whatever else falls into their potent punch, with the focus firmly on feel rather than any kind of frosty perfection. As Tav would have it (I think) these songs are CONJURATIONS. Let the spirits walk in the night.
It's full of killer tracks and I never get tired of it. Highlights? Lee Hazlewood's Poor Man; Jim Dickinson's Oh, How She Dances; Lowell Fulsom's classic Tramp, shortened to Tram. Every damn track, actually. Tav co-wrote the hokey eastern Ode to Shetar and all the rest are covers, but excavation is the point. Just like Shetar comes back to life so do these songs, wrung from the dusty grip of being 'heritage' music back into sweating congress with the living. The songs were recorded on a number of different occasions with the production chair taken at times by Jim Dickinson and LX Chilton amoung others. Both also play on the album. It feels like a crack bar band knocking out the hits while knocking back the bootleg. Intoxicating and intoxicated.
I have put together a YouTube playlist of some of the songs below. It's not on Spotify. There is currently a series of releases on Stag-o-Lee records and this album is set to be part of Volume 3. Watch out for all volumes and do yourself a favour.