Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jay Bolotin, Jay do you tell them apart?

My last Dusted review for the year is up today. It’s Jay Bolotin’s self-titled folk album, briefly available around its 1970 release, then lost for decades until Locust Music picked it up for reissue. Here’s part of the review:

Another in the parade of long-lost singer-songwriter records recently recovered and dusted off for contemporary consideration, Jay Bolotin’s self-titled debut has been out of circulation almost since its 1970 release. (Since that time, Jay Bolotin has had an interesting career, writing a song for Dan Fogelberg, earning Kris Kristofferson’s admiration, writing an opera and creating a film out of animated woodcuts called The Jackleg Testament.) Recorded in New York City, with bassist Kenny Lyon, keyboard player Mark Taber, guitarist David Mowry and Bobby Mason of the Fugs on drums, the album has a quiet intensity. Its sureness and maturity are surprising, given that the songwriter was only 17 or 18 years old at the time.

The songs are a shadowy mix of Appalachian folk, blues and country. In “Dear Father,” for instance, a delicate web of guitar picking evokes Bolotin’s Kentucky roots, while Mowry’s blues lead lends a smoke and heat not unlike Richard Thompson’s work in Fairport Convention. Bolotin’s voice – echoey, dramatic and full of shadings – is pitched somewhere between Bert Jansch and Johnny Cash. And the song, though grounded in a very traditional web of influences, turns surreal with visions of snakes swallowing their own tails. If you had to imagine what it would sound like for a backwoods country boy to discover late-1960s psychedelia (and possibly pharmaceuticals), this would be it.

Read the rest of the review.

There’s nothing up on the web from this album, but I did find this video from The Jackleg Testament.

I’m going to see Jay Reatard tonight, just for fun, with my husband and son. I might post about it tomorrow, but probably not seeing as it’s a holiday and I’ve got a ton of cooking to do.

Have a nice Thanksgiving (if you’re in the US) and a nice end of the week, if you’re not.

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