When my buddy Mike told me he was putting out a new collection of prank phone calls some dudes from Memphis had put together, the concept of a Southern Jerky Boys getting their yuks at some unsuspecting store clerk’s expense didn’t seem like a side-splitting threat.
To my surprise, the Just Farr A Laugh disc was quite funny without resorting to a Crank Yankers-level of lowbrow vulgarity or ruling out mockery altogether. Instead, Andrew Earles and Jeff Jensen successfully subverted the whole prank call format by creating a cast of believably bent characters and then employing their arcane knowledge of pop culture to concoct stoopidly clever set-ups that are always funnier than the responses. Listen to some sharpie trying to unload an entire run of the Smith & Smith TV series on Betamax tape and a Jackson Browne “Lawyers In Love” painter’s cap on a serious antique dealer on the two-disc Just Farr A Laugh, Vols 1 & 2 (Matador) anthology and you’ll get the idea.
However, two and a half hours of RuPaul’s personal assistant, Michael Anthony’s whiskey-bottle bass and David J’s old flatmate might be too much of a goofy thing. www.matadorrecords.com.
Change it into "Kenny" From South Park, That's Some Funny Shit (Earles and Jensen)
Man With a Confusing Array of Things to Sell (Earles and Jensen)
Mudhoney turn 20
It’s amazing that Mudhoney are celebrating their 20th anniversary together, particularly when you consider how they’ve outlasted all of their Seattle scene contemporaries without enjoying anywhere near their commercial success. Not that they didn’t deserve it. I’ve always felt that the definitive grunge anthem was Mudhoney’s belligerent introductory blast, Touch Me I’m Sick
, which explosively opens the double-disc Deluxe Edition of Superfuzz Bigmuff (Sub Pop), but some Aberdeen fuds swiped the Seattle spotlight from them.
So instead of becoming wealthy drug casualties, Mark Arm, Steve Turner, Matt Lukin and Dan Peters went on to cut more frenzied classics like In ’N’ Out Of Grace
, Mudride and Here Comes Sickness, collected in various whumping versions on this snazzy reissue of the Superfuzz Bigmuff EP and singles collection. A second disc of storming live performances from 1988 is included. Twenty years on, Mudhoney’s music sounds just as righteously reckless and vital as the day I first dropped needle on the B-side of their shit-coloured debut single. www.subop.com.
Do you recall the last time you saw vintage footage of Curtis Mayfield and/or the Impressions on television? Neither do I, which is why I was delighted to come across the just-released Movin’ On Up: The Music And Message Of Curtis Mayfield And The Impressions (Universal) documentary DVD.
The stellar two hours of footage assembled by the Reelin’ in the Years crew includes 22 awesome full-length Impressions and Curtis solo performance clips (1965-73) drawn from various sources, but also thoughtfully employs interviews with all the principal players. These place Mayfield’s music, so strongly connected with the civil rights movement, in it’s proper cultural context. www.reelinintheyears.com.
Of course, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash kept on keepin’ on as the Impressions after Mayfield split, and Rhino’s American Beat subsidiary has recently reissued six of their overlooked Curtom label albums as three two-fers sans bonus tracks. Richard Tufo produced and arranged their finest work of the 70s, so the best of the bunch is the Preacher Man and Finally Got Myself Together combo, and the Three The Hard Way soundtrack also holds a few surprises.
What It Is (The Impressions)