Thursday, August 26, 2010

He's In A Hurry (To Get Home To My Wife)

OK, So I decided not to post that song but I'm posting these two other heavies. This CD has a ton of great titles and a hell of a lot of great songs.

 Look, is anybody following my logic here? I don't listen to much "punk rock" and I  almost never post any "punk rock" songs here but I think most of what I post here is pretty much punk. Perhaps I am full of shit.

Then again, one of my favorite quotes is, "I used to think I was open minded but then I found out I just liked weird shit." Make of that what you will.

Pardon Me (I've Got Someone To Kill) - Johnny Paycheck (Buy)

It Won't Be Long (And I'll Be Hating You)- Johnny Paycheck (Buy) 

Paycheck was the most morbid hard core honky tonk guy on Earth. There's songs about nuclear destruction, songs about getting beat in bars, songs about cheating wives and songs about murder. It's the nuclear destruction thing that kind of pushes him over the top. I mean, most honky tonk songs are about self loathing and drama but you know...

I posting this in a hurry but I'd like to pause for clarification. No one has ever exactly defined hipster to my satisfaction but most people seem to agree that hipsters enjoy irony. I'm not a hipster. I like these songs.


ib said...

For sheer punch-your-chin-in-the-air punk rock attitude, I'm getting up close and personal with the second cut. That, and the fact that it sounds that he's surrounded by a chorus line of mini-skirted young women shaking their soon to become celullite.

Thanks fer the the introduction. I might be the ring.

Well. For all the jaundiced punch drunkeness, it sounds like he could soak it up. The same might not be said for Buddy Holocaust.

ib said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ib said...

Pardon me. After falling on the hook, the first one reels you back in for a close to 'last song' waltz.

Pretty damn good. I'm filing this next to Porter Wagoner for sucked to the marrow class.

To clarify the deletion, I just wanted to add that "I might be the ring" should have read "it might be worth buying a ring". Asshole that I am. Three comments to get there seemed like one to many.

Is his "18 Greatest Hits" on a par with this, do you know ? Or are these from his 'Vegas' years ?

Jon said...

Hey Ib, "18 Greatest" is probably his stuff from the '70's. Most of this collection came before he had his big successes, culminating in "Take This Job". I've gotta say that these are the two best songs in the compilation. He was not a very good lyricist and he was a little too influenced by the sixties on a lot of these songs.

There are too many songs with lyrics that are both predictable and incoherent- something along the lines of "I was born in a one room shack/ That day my momma died/ Poppa took to drinking/ I had to raise ten younger kids/ But at least I had my pride." Huh? What? There really are contradictions that weird in a couple of songs

As to the sixties influence, there are several songs where he tries for some pop chord progressions that just don't fit his lyrics or the style of his backing band. His seventies hits were much stronger songs.

What's compelling about this compilation is the sound of a man who seems to be writing from the depths of some miserable depression. Despite flashes of brilliance (especially the two songs I posted), he doesn't seem able to realize his talents because something is holding him back. Unlike a lot of honky tonkers, Hank Williams first among them, who could express their pain, because they weren't always IN pain, Paycheck sounds like a man who is wooden with grief.

"Pardon Me" and "It Won't Be Long" are the strongest because they are written from a stance of defiance.

Maybe I'm projecting too much of my own experience with depression but I don't think I'm that different from anybody else and I'm hearing some very familiar pain in these songs. I know he had a terrible history of addiction and alcoholism. Alcoholics and addicts are all pretty much the same. The only difference, as they say, is in experiences.

Finally, "Buddy Holocaust" !!! Genius! Somebody has to steal that name.

ib said...

On (the late) Buddy Holocaust:

I downloaded a live song - "We Will Retake Saigon" - from WFMU a few years back.

"The late Buddy Holocaust (A.K.A. Bill Tate) had his one and only public performance in August of 1981, in the Collis student center at Dartmouth College. He delivered a litany of songs that were simultaneously stirring, hilarious, or as disquieting as a Francisco de Goya painting. A cassette recording of that set made the rounds to a number of college radio stations throughout the mid-80s, but remains otherwise unavailable."

I have no clear idea whether there was some conscious intention at stand-up comedy at work here, or whether Holocaust was simply slipping into his psychosis. For whatever reason(s). I suspect the latter.

"On July 29, 1981, Bill Tate, a Dartmouth student, gave his only concert as Buddy Holocaust, "pragmatic nihilist" folk singer. “We will retake Saigon,” he sang in one number, sounding like Phil Ochs in the employ of Oliver North. “Give me your love or I’ll destroy the world,” went a more casual ditty. There was “Drugs Did This to Me” (he kills her and eats her) and “These Morons Have to Go (retching as he impersonates them),” both as catchy as they were hateful. Presumably, Tate was kidding: exaggerating the famous conservatism of his fellow students. But he brought a fierceness to the role, an embattled sense of humor, that made such conclusions suspect. Tate was too good at being Buddy Holocaust to resist him."

And, "according to Rob Graff":

"He dropped out of college just after the concert, and went to his parents house in Southern California (where they had moved from Chagrin Falls, OH). The story is that he shopped around the tape of his concert to folks in the music industry, and - perhaps not surprisingly - found little interest in its commercial potential. I heard that he died in the fall of 1981 when he drove his (parents?) car into a highway bridge piling at very high speed with no skid marks - an apparent suicide. Stark music. It’s been over 20 years, but some of his lines still haunt me.”

Back to Johnny Paycheck.

I got hold of "18 Greatest". And "The Real Mr. Heartache", basically a compilation of the same Little Darlin' recordings as "Nowhere to Run".

I must confess I'm more drawn to the cardboard wit of the earlier stuff. "...wooden with grief" is an accurate appraisal. I get the impression that Paycheck, the character, was born out of a cynical desire to milk demand while laughing all the way to the bank.

Somewhere down the line he got bitten in the ass.

I actually like the Adam West arrangements on a few of these earlier cornball nuggets.

You're right. The two you posted are without argument the strongest, but "(Like Me) You'll Recover in Time" is another gem.

Jon said...

Now I know more about Buddy Holocaust than I really wanted to. I did ask though, so thanks.

About (Like Me) You'll Recover In Time, I thought it was more or less a crude rip off of Rubber Room and Committed to Parkview by Porter Waggoner. Porter was writing autobiographically. It could be argued he was writing during one of his lucid intervals.

Paycheck was a Nashville bush leaguer who was desperately looking for a way into the big leagues. There were and are thousands like him. You can practically hear his thoughts: "That didn't work. OK, I'll try writing a "Mama" song next. Howsabout a "Daddy" song too. Just in case Mama doesn't work out." and on and on.

Like I say, the true weirdness of his work shows up in his nuclear war violence fantasy, "The Cave" and in his even weirder revenge porn piece "The Johnsons of Turkey Ridge".

Bouncy Nashville piano riffing as he talks about Daddy's body being feasted on by buzzards. He also talks about not knowing his Daddy because Daddy was killed by the Johnsons. Then he talks about being present when the Johnsons killed Daddy. He's trying for a faux folksie Dan'l Boone theme song sound and then he throws in a bunch of mutilated corpses. It's a truly creepy song.

No surprise, when he finally scored big in the '70's he spent all of his money on heroin. The man had demons.

RossK said...

Jeebuz you guys...

Hook-up the Skype-Cycle, would'ya.

We want a podcast of this kind of stuff.



DaisyDeadhead said...

Oh myyy, I had forgotten he ever looked like that! I mostly knew the long-haired JP who ran ads for his concerts specifying BIKERS WELCOME!

urania235 said...

I have this on vinyl.

Jon said...

Roscoe. Very cool. Oh the stuff I used to have on vinyl. Every once in a while I torture myself by going to a rare record dealer. I like to see what all the stuff I used to have is going for. I would have a decent down payment on a little California shack if I'd kept all that crap.

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