Camper Van Chadbourne - "Psychadelidoowop"
(Swamp Room Records/Magnetic 2001, Best Nr. 3868-6 / Magnetic0019, LP)
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
More fun covers of classic tunes done only as the good doctor Eugene Chadbourne can, and once again with his cohorts in Camper Van Beethoven. Chadbourne covers a lot of stylistic territory from jazz, to country, and freaky atmospherics. "Milestones" is an intriguing avant-jazz rendition of a Miles Davis tune. Graham Connah on keyboards (whom AI readers will know from Mushroom) and Victor Krummenacher on bass provide the jazz foundation upon which Chadbourne on acoustic guitar and Jonathan Segal on violin create their freeform constructions. Each musician takes front and center stage to stretch out making for an avant free-improv styled twist on classic jazz. "Wiggles The Worm" is the other real standout track of the set, and freakiness abounds on this Funkadelic cover. Mr Wiggles is the legendary George Clinton, whom I'm sure would agree that this is a truly unique take on his music. Banjo and violin do some inventive avant-shredding while the bass controls the rhythmic patterns and various other sounds and voice samples provide embellishment.
"St. John's River" is a bit different. The album notes say that this is a traditional song they learned from Burl Ives' Coronation Concert. It's a dark but soulfully emotional tune with droning atmospherics that combine a spacey trance feel with singing violin and Chadbournized banjo. Interesting. Fans of Chadbourne's versions of country classics will love his "Good Year For The Wine", a total in the saloon let's get drunk Dukes Of Hazzard tune. And rounding out the set are covers of Phil Ochs' "Knock On The Door" and "Right Track" by Reggae artist Hopeton Lewis and Phyllis Dillon, the later having lots of subtle but intricate banjo and mandolin workouts.
Note that the Swamp Room Records LP version of Psychadelidoowop has two less tracks than the Magnet release, but is pressed on a picture disc with killer artwork and limited to 500 copies. Vinyl junkies will love it.
For more information you can visit the Swamp Room Records web site at: http://www.swamp-room.de.
Contact via snail mail c/o Swamp Room Records; Auf Dem Loh 18, 30167 Hannover; Germany.
In the USA visit the Magnet web site at: http://www.MagneticMotorworks.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Magnetic; PO Box 460816; San Francisco, CA 94146-0816.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz