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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Gun Club Revisited 3 - Promise Me

Promise Me, the sole "slow" song on side one of the LP version of Fire of Love was bracketed by a pair of rave-ups, both before and after. Back in the day I didn't have much use for it or any of the other laid back Gun Club songs. But they began to grow on me over the years. It's a fairly straightforward effort, for the most part, with a heavy guitar part that plods along throughout and ominous lyrics adding to the dark undertone. The icing on the cake is a violin part by Tito Larriva (who co-produced the album, along with Chris D. - once of the Flesheaters) that's more drone than tune and which recalls John Cale's viola playing with the Velvet Underground.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Gun Club Revisited 2 - Preachin' the Blues

The Gun Club released their version of Robert Johnson's Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped the Devil) as Preaching the Blues, in 1981. The late bluesman's star had not ascended to its current lofty heights at the time but English bluesmen and others had been doing their part to keep his music in front of the public since the Sixties.

This greatly altered version of the song kicks off with all of the rip-roaring, out of control goodness of a train about to run off the tracks and keeps up the pace pretty much throughout, with a few lulls tossed in for dramatic effect. It works and really well. Wailing slide guitar opens the proceedings, the rhythm section kicks in at a frenetic pace, and Pierce, hardly the most restrained of all vocalists, turns in an especially forceful performance, complete with wailing and howling. Which puts it in my Gun Club top 10, for sure.


Gun Club Revisited 1 - Sex Beat

The Gun Club released their first album, Fire of Love, in late summer of 1981. Over the course of a decade and a half or so until the death of core member, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, their output included seven studio albums and an EP, assorted and sundry bootlegs and a smattering of this, that and the other. While there's plenty of good stuff to be found in all of this, some (myself included) would make the argument that their debut album was also their finest moment.

Lots of ink has been spilled trying to describe what The Gun Club actually did. My take would be punked-up blues with a decidedly dark bent, though the overt blues influences seemed to dwindle a bit as the years passed.

Sex Beat - the opener on the album and The Gun Club song your grandma and other non-fans are probably most likely to have heard - owes a great deal to punk and not so much to blues. The stop and go bits provide a bit of drama and the lyrics, well...they're lyrics. Overall I find that the appeal of this one has waned some as the years have passed, while songs on the album that I used to skip over have become much more appealing.