Do you know the difference between big wood and brush? It’s a question asked by the opening track of this latest collection of song-poems, and it’s a question that has been burning in my mind since purchasing the CD. I think it’s a thought provoking idea that is particularly fitting for an artistic endeavor such as this: do you know the difference between manufactured pop-crap and real soul-searching song craftsmanship? This collection of songs is real, as real as it gets. It represents the real dreams of real people. Every song on this collection deserves mention, but with a satisfying 28 cuts, it would be an impossible task. The stylistic representation on the CD is vast and includes touches of soul (‘City’s Hospital Patients), blues (‘I’m Just the Other Woman’), country/western (‘I Lost My Girl to an Argentinean Cowboy’), and even a track that comes close to a free jazz improv (‘Beat of the Traps’). There is also the unmistakable sound of beat poetry hidden amongst this pile of jewels (‘Run Spook Run’). There are screaming wah guitars, driving bass lines, and beating rhythms. I found it impossible to keep my foot from tapping carelessly away, and I even caught myself singing a few of the catchier chorus’. Highlights include A funky ‘Jimmy Carter Says Yes’; a little disco-ditty written by a man searching for Crisco in order to bake a cake so he can “disco-disco” titled ‘How Long Are You Staying’; and a space-themed lament to the ‘Blind Man’s Penis’. Also present are all the usual suspects such as Gene Marshall, “Rod Rogers”, and “Rod Keith”. So, if you want to know the difference between big wood and brush, buy this CD. Who knows, maybe you will be inspired and end up on the next collection of these magnificent testaments to the human spirit!
...you'll love these: get hold of the all the other reissues of song-poem albums. Carnage Press in the U.S. did four volumes, number one being 'Beat of the Traps' (many tracks included on the CD reviewed are on these albums), plus the CDs 'Makers of Smooth Music' & Rodd Keith's own collection of songs 'I Died Today'. Some of the song-poems have turned up on the superb 'Only In America' series (Arf Arf records.) After years of collecting weird and exotic tracks from yesteryear I must say this CD I'm reviewing is one of the finest in its' field with the bizarre ('Convertables & Headbands', 'Blind Man's Penis') to the strangly moving ('How Long Are You Staying') to some of the most beautiful musical arrangements I've ever heard ('Little Love Bug', 'Ecstasy To Fenzy'.) When it comes to exotica reissues, this album is the one to start with & easily one of the best. Ignore Q magazine's 3 star review, do yourself a favour: get it and lose yourself!
I love the title song so much. it just gets under your skin. You've got to admire the lyrics (sorry, song-poem) and the tune stays in your head for flippin' aeons. C'mon, you must be curious - what IS the difference between big wood and brush? Buy this album and find out.