Eugene Chadbourne and Kevin Blechdom (aka Kristin Erickson) performing songs from their 2007 Victo performance, warped banjo rock instrumentals and songs.
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Catalog ID: CD 112
Squidco Product Code: 11079
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded at the 24th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, May 21, 2007
Eugene Chadbourne-banjo, voice
Kevin Blechdom-banjo, piano, voice
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1. Dance Chicken Corina Blackberry Medley 10:01 2. Alabama Jubilee 2:20
3. Kiss Off Vibrations 4:10
4. Astronomy Domine 5:02
5. The Johnson Boys 4:11
6. Kylie into Danjur 5:41
7. Froggie Went a Courtin' 3:02
8. Chapter 24 5:03
9. Graveyard 3:53
10. Reflections on Dueling Banjos 8:39
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"Chadbourne, who first emerged as part of New York's Downtown Music scene, has not attained the degree of success that early collaborator John Zorn has. Still, he's shaped a career that's perhaps even more stylistically unbound than Zorn's, with a personal discography that's well in excess of one hundred recordings, ranging from the warped rockabilly of the group Shockabilly to the more jazz-centric (but no less eccentric) The Hills Have Jazz (Boxholder, 2005).
Kevin Blechdom is the onstage persona of Kristin Erickson, who was one-half of Blectum from Blechdom and became known for wild electronic experimentation and imaginative interpretation.
All the more reason that the pairing of Chadbourne and Blechdom—resulting from a one-week residence in France where it was dubbed The Chaddom-Blechbourne Experience, and a couple of performances thereafter (this being their North American debut)—should be so odd; or, perhaps, not odd at all. Chadbourne has developed a reputation as outspoken political songsmith and virtuoso instrumentalist; here he restricted himself to banjo, while the equally trenchant Blechdom split her time between piano and an electric banjo. The set had a exhilarating feeling of spontaneity, as Chadbourne largely called the tunes, but the two managed to find weird and wonderful ways to morph from one song to the next and, in one case, combine a number of them together in ways nobody could have imagined.
Few could even conceive reinventing Pink Floyd's psychedelic Syd Barret-era "Astronomy Domine" for two banjos, but in Chadbourne and Blechdom's hands it worked. As did a number of archival roots tunes and the biting satire of ther original material—political and otherwise. Equally there was a slapstick element of absurdity when Chadbourne began taking down the balloons floating above the lush plant life onstage and inhaling the helium to lend his vocal range a significant boost in the high end. Of course it would have been even better had the balloons not kept breaking on him before he could inhale the gas.
Beneath the comedy, however, were some simple facts. First, Chadbourne proved a remarkably talented banjoist who adopted new tunings on the fly throughout the set (not to mention handling broken strings with ease), and played with a loose inventiveness that, despite first appearances, made the set fit perfectly within the concept of Musique Actuelle. Blechdom took a more supportive role on banjo, but turned out to be a surprisingly good pianist. And both had strong voices capable of clean power and gritty raunch. All of which made for a rollicking good time well-received by the capacity crowd."-John Kelman, All About Jazz
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• Show Bio for Eugene Chadbourne
"A seemingly endless -- and endlessly eclectic -- series of releases made the innovative guitarist Eugene Chadbourne one of the underground community's most well-known and well-regarded eccentrics. Born January 4, 1954 in Mount Vernon, NY, Chadbourne was raised in Boulder, CO, by his mother, a refugee of the Nazi death camps. At the age of 11, the Beatles inspired him to learn guitar; later exposure to Jimi Hendrix prompted him to begin experimenting with distortion pedals and fuzzboxes. Ultimately, however, he became dissatisfied with the conventions of rock and pop, and traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic one, on which he began to learn to play bottleneck blues.
Perhaps Chadbourne's most significant formative discovery was jazz; initially drawn to John Coltrane and Roland Kirk, he later became an acolyte of the avant excursions of Derek Bailey and Anthony Braxton. Despite the huge influence music exerted over his life, however, Chadbourne first studied to become a journalist, but his career was derailed when he fled to Canada rather than fight in Vietnam; only President Jimmy Carter's declaration of amnesty for conscientious objectors allowed the vociferously left-wing Chadbourne to return to the U.S. in 1976, at which time he plunged headlong into the New York downtown music scene. After releasing his 1976 debut, Solo Acoustic Guitar, he began collaborating on purely improvisational music with the visionary saxophonist John Zorn and the acclaimed guitarist Henry Kaiser.
Quickly, Chadbourne carved out a singular style, comprised of equal parts protest music, free improvisation, and avant-garde jazz, topped off with his absurd, squeaky vocals. A complete list of Chadbourne's countless subsequent collaborations and genre workouts is far too lengthy and detailed to exhaustively document, although in the early '80s he garnered some of his first significant attention as the frontman of Shockabilly, a demented rockabilly revisionist outfit which also featured the well-known producer Kramer. Following the group's breakup, Chadbourne turned to his own idiosyncratic brand of country and folk, accurately dubbed LSD C&W on a 1987 release, the same year he joined the members of Camper Van Beethoven for a one-off covers project. In addition, he recorded with artists ranging from Fred Frith and Elliott Sharp to Evan Johns and Jimmy Carl Black, the original drummer in the Mothers of Invention; in between, he continued exploring unique styles inspired by music from the four corners of the globe, all the while issuing a seemingly innumerable string of records, most of them on his own Parachute label."-All Music (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eugene-chadbourne-mn0000172925/biography)
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