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The Jam Session: Urban Turban

On a warm summer afternoon, Glenn Brooks, Jason Staczek, Mark Oppfelt and Scott Boggan listened to music accompanied by Thomas Kemper Weizenberry, a raspberry flavored wheat beer.

Urban Turban Urban Turban (the review)
Scott had not heard this CD before; the rest of us had.

Rollin' and Tumblin'
S.They do "Folsom Prison Blues"?
J.I think that's one of the best cuts on the CD.
G.It's amazing. It's pretty darn straight too.
S.And "Knock on Wood"? Is that the Eddie Floyd tune?
G.Nope, same title but it's by J. Finneran, whoever that is. Great tune though.
J.That one is not straight at all!
S.Hey, wait, it's not Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison." The liner notes say it's by someone named Johnny Chash! And McKinley Morghansfield wrote "Hoochie Coochie Man."
G.Swedish spellchecker?
M.Yeah, that's how they spell it in Sweden. Billy Kwan says "Mind Your Manners."
G.There goes the hurdy-gurdy. Sort of a medieval Farfisa.

Knock on Wood
G. "I know what it feels to be dead..." Doesn't it sound like "She said, she said"? Maybe it's the sitar.
M."And it's making me feel like I never been born."
S.These guys are not serious!
J.It's hard to say.
G.I think this is some kind of genius, no question about it.
J.I'd sign up to go see these guys in a heartbeat if they came to town.
S.This has a little of that Flash and the Pan sound.
G.Yeah, that ominous half-spoken slightly foreign voice. "Walkin', just walkin' in the rain...."
S.They probably don't know what they're singing.
J.All phonetic. This one sounds really good loud. You feel like you're right there in some Middle East marketplace.

Voodoo Child
G.The intros to the songs are so out of left field. Even after you've heard the CD a couple of times, they can still take you by surprise.
J.Yeah, like "Voodoo Child" with a polka fiddle intro.
S."Voodoo Child"!? No way!
J.Yeah, hear? There's a little guitar.
M.Are you sure that's a guitar? It might be the krummhorn.
S.I would never get "Voodoo Child" out if this. Have you heard the new Hendrix Blues CD?
M.What's the name of it?
S.It's just called Blues. I heard a friend's copy. It's pretty nice. I may have to pick it up.
M.Any unreleased stuff?
S.Yeah, some unreleased stuff, a remix of "Voodoo Child" as a matter of fact. It's really good.

Wang Dang Doodle
G.Making the connection between Hendrix and Swedish folk music is a remarkable contribution.
S.There's a Captain Beefheart feel here, circa Clear Spot, with that horn chart there.
G.Yeah and that growly voice. There's a lot of Beefheart here. But there's a lot of blues in Beefheart.
S.Absolutely. He was a Howlin' Wolf man.
M.His voice reminds me also of the guy with the Guess Who...
S.Burton Cummings?
M.That's it. He's got that edge to his voice.
G.Not the greatest harp playing in the world.
J.I think it would be safe to call it squawking. That cut goes on too long.
G.Yeah, you get they idea, and then...
J.Then it goes on "all night long."

Let's Work Together
G.This is my favorite cut. That ukulele or whatever it is, playing a riff in some completely unrelated key. But it works so well.
J.Baksheesh blues played on Middle Eastern instruments by a Swedish duo.
S.But does it express the blues gestalt?
G.Well, those Swedes can be pretty damn melancholy.
S.This is the song Canned Heat did. But who was Wilbert Harrison?
G.He was an R'n'B guy. This was his big hit. These guys change the melody so it's more ominous that the original. More interesting too, I think.

J.This is their original cut.
S.Uh-huh. They should stick to covers. Let's hear that Johnny Chash song.

Folsom Prison Blues
G.There's that lonesome Swedish train whistle.
M.The Stockholm Express. Here it comes....
G.I think he sings it an octave lower than Johnny.
S.Approaching Leonard Cohen territory. Oh, I like this one, this is very nice.
all."...just to watch him die."
S.An oddly celebratory feeling.
G.Probably as excited as a Swede ever gets. Just had a really good cup of coffee.
S.Or a bolus of lutefisk.
G.Think back on Little Axe. These guys are not just taking a formula and applying it, they're re-creating this music in a unique fashion.
S.Because they're playing. Little Axe was programming.

Hoochie Coochie Man
J.Seems like they decided to do this one pretty straight.
G.They've got that slow triplet feel.
S.I like the guitar.
G.That little stutter step at the end of each phrase makes the lines fall not quite where you expect them to.
S.Oh, yeah, even if it is fairly straight, it's still wacky enough to be its own thing.
G.Pretty abrasive guitar.
S.And that whole bevy of weird string instruments in the background carrying the rhythm.
G.It should be a weird sounding song. Magical, slightly threatening.

Copyright © 1995 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.