Monday, April 25, 2005

Terrible things are always happening...

ABNER JAY "Bring it with You"
So, the last few years have been good in many ways for me, but also rife with funky health stuff and depression -- shit I haven't even wanted to talk with close pals about, but now that things across the board seem to be a lot better I'm realizing how much they've just sucked, not that long ago at all. For a variety of plausibly good reasons(really!), I've been wayyyyy too slow with everything, which bums me and makes me more harsh on myself and as a result I freak out and am even slowerrrr, either as a result of taking on a whole 'nother project, or kind of shooting myself in the foot somehow, an art I excel at... Anyway, I just I feel not solely liek the boy who cried ze wolf, but I feel like the boy who cried wolf while trying to paint with his foot, sing a concerto (you know, with his mouth), and win the hot dog eating contest at the same time. Yeah, that boy... Which makes me, at times, a one man band of self-pity, defeat and solipsistic despair! I can say "woe is me" a thousand ways! You think I'm kidding?! Hah. OK. I am. But also, I'm not.

Actual one-man-band Abner Jay really dealt with issues of depression and drug addiction in a fucked-up/ outsider-blues/ bad comedy way. As a result, I absolutely love him. (Wait, I'm not insinuating I've relapsed here as I've not! -- I am about to plagiarize myself from a review I wrote for the Seattle Weekly a year and a half ago -- that's 'cause I'm lazy, like I said already. OK.)

On one of Jay's best songs he says "I crave cocaine but I can't find nothing here in Atlanta/'Cause them hippies done used it all up!" Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly intrepid crate digger, especially when it comes to raw, weird blues music, but neither I nor anyone I know had ever heard of "one-man band" Abner Jay until this year, when the Swedish reissue label Subliminal Sounds released One Man Band, a best-of disc culled from small label LPs made in the '60s.

Jay is an anomaly in every sense. One of the last recording performers from the days of minstrel shows, he played an electric six-string banjo, began most every song with a series of off-color jokes, and played the snare with one leg and the kick drum with the other. This South Georgia native's picking style was swampy and bluesy, while he used his voice in an extended, powerful moan to talk of the difficulties of sharecropping, hard drugs, and Vietnam. It's safe to say you've never heard anything like it.


Blogger Ruby Jones said...

Being a southern girl, I had heard some of the phrases in this song, but never the song - it is outrageous and wonderful! I love it! More, more, tell me more about this feller!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Mike McGonigal said...

Sorry I don't really know anymore!!!

Like your site, Ruby. I have a soft spot for Southern girls...

4:26 PM  
Blogger Ruby Jones said...

Beware that soft spot, hon.... it'll get you into a world of trouble!

6:28 AM  
Blogger Mike McGonigal said...

BELIEVE me, I know -- I was married to one for a short while!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Ruby Jones said...

Then there's no use in giving you fair warning, is there - you already know what a world of trouble is, don't you?
I bet you like Bobbie Gentry, don't you ;)

8:11 AM  
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9:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

the mississippi records LP "the true story of Abner Jay" has a hilarious & heart breaking biography as the liner notes....

9:46 PM  
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