Gig (Michael Hurley)
2. Girl On The Billboard (H.Mills & W. Haynes)
3. Victoria (Michael Hurley)
4. Ruben's Train (Trad. Arr. Michael Hurley)
5 The Beggar's Terms (Michael Hurley)
6. Misery (Bob Wills, Tommy Duncan, Tiny Moore)
7. Pay No Attention to Alice (Tom T Hall)
8. Love Changing Blues (Blind Willie McTell)
9. English Nobleman (Michael Hurley)
10. Ghost Woman Blues (George Carter)
11. Sweet Thing (Trad. Arr. Michael Hurley)
Frank Van den Elzen, Popwatch No. 10, January 1999
Not the new
album promised in the interview in our last issue, but a collection of
odds and ends recorded in various locales over the last 5 years and released
to coincide with Doc Snock's first -ever extensive tour of the British
Isles this summer. A kind of tour-only item, so to speak, released by
the Irish Blue Navigator magazine that dedicates its pages to the life
and music of Snock and friends, and that was also responsible for setting
up said, successful, tour.
subtitled "Return to the Land of Lo-Fi", Bellemeade is certainly
not a Daniel Johnston-style boombox affair, rather it's a clarification
for the casual way it was recorded; a quality not alien to Hurley's albums
in the first place. Of the 11 pieces here only 4 are originals, making
this inbetweener almost a tribute to the century-old appalachian traditional
and illustrious blues and country players the Snock holds dear.
opener "$10.00 Gig," pities one of Hurley's reclusive buddies
whose only joy in life seems to be "the $10.00 gig at the end of
the week", and has the Lemon Lillies supplying vocal harmonies. "Girl
on the Billboard" is a cover of an authentic truck driving song with
Will Rigby on drums, proving that there are more tasteful things for an
ex-dB's member to do than back up Stipe & Co. In the liners Hurley
says "I feel like I'm paid mostly for the truck driving I do between
gigs. Doing the gig might only take a few hours while I might be 13 hours
or more driving to it." Next up's an original instrumental beaut
of guitar picking topped with mock trumpet (just lips, no brass). "Ruben's
Train" is a stunning fretless banjo adaptation of an old mountain
fiddle tune. I could go on at length about every single tune, there;'s
literally no filler to be found here. Western swing icon Bob Will's "Misery"
is hair raising in Hurley's hands and during the Jerry Roll-like barrel
house piano version of Blind Willie McTell's "Love Changing Blues,"
Hurley busts a string of the upright but brings the song to an end without
a blink, quavering along with the off notes. Amazing. "English Nobleman"
is another self-penned one, inspired by the ramblin'-with Remailly days
during which the two would converse in phony accents without falling out
of character for days at end. On the closing instrumental Doc Snock fuses
Apppalachian fiddle traditions with multi-string drones that almost recall
Tony Conrad and in the process goes straight for the goose bumps, as the
whole album basically does.
a casual collection of Hurley ditties can fling a heart-skipping wrench
into the system of everyone who cares to listen. Snap your copy up when
you see it, the supply is not "unlimited." Great cover art too...