Eugene Chadbourne - "Young And Innocent Days"
(Swamp Room Records 2000, Bestell-Nr. 301135, 2-10" LP's)

From Aural Innovations #12 (September 2000)

There are two things that Eugene Chadbourne excels at. One is destroying his guitar while still making it clear what an accomplished player he is. The other is destroying other people's songs while still making the songs his own and paying tribute to the artists. On this double 10" set Chadbourne plays a variety of covers of some of his favorite songs from the 1960's. For this project he's assembled a cast of Louisville Kentucky musicians including Joee Conroy (Ut Gret) on mandolin, guitar, cello, sitar, and violin, Dean Zigoris (French TV) on mellotron, percussion, and tape loops, Gregory Acker on tablas, soprano saxophone, and flute, Todd Hildreth on organ, piano, and accordion, Andy Rademaker on bass, Steve Good on bass clarinet and tenor saxophone, and Gary Pahler on drums.

All the songs covered were selected by Chadbourne and Conroy and run a stylistic gamut including Donovan, Jefferson Airplane, Love, The Rolling Stones, Tom T. Hall, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, Frank Zappa, and Phil Ochs. The real joy of the album is the lineup of instruments Chadbourne has included that help to really make these songs his own rendition. I recall first hearing his There'll Be No Tears Tonight album (Country covers) and discovering how he could simultaneously caress, manipulate, and generally turn upside down other people's music.

Among the standout tracks is "Epistle To Dippy", a Donovan song that has a rockin' Chadbourne feel but includes cool psychedelic sitar and horns that embark on a freakout jam rivaling any psych guitar I've heard. Jefferson Airplane's "Martha" becomes a combo of psychedelia and jazz, often at the same time mixing guitar, banjo, flute, and acid guitar. "Live And Let Live" by Arthur Lee and Love includes classic Chadbourne mindfuck guitar licks and Shockabilly style heaviness. The Stones' "Get Off Of My Cloud" is a raw kick ass rocker embellished by horns and Chadbourne's take no prisoners solos. "Der Heyser Bulgar" is a traditional song that's guaranteed to bring out the "Hava Nageela" in all of us. It's kind of hysterical hearing this tune played in a relatively traditional style, but with Chadbourne's rapid fire banjo licks racing alongside and the sneaky interjection of "I Walk The Line". "Hickory Wind" by Gram Parsons is played as a soulful country tune but ends as an avant free-jazz freakout. And "Mom & Dad" by The Mothers is played in a dark style that mixes Chadbourne's sound with moments of recognizable Zappa.

Highest recommendation to Chadbourne fans. The guitar work is fantastic and the band top-notch, which makes Chadbourne's raw and 'unclean' style all the more enjoyable. And for those of you who haven't heard him before but like truly killer and adventurous guitar playing and a unique glom of instruments by musicians who can really play them then head right this way NOW! Oh, and I should mention the cool tie-dye colored vinyl the discs are pressed on.

Young And Innocent Days is distributed by Swamp Room Records. You can visit their web site.
Contact via snail mail at Swamp Room Records; Auf Dem Loh 18; 30167 Hannover; Germany

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