Blues isn’t something I’m terribly familiar with. I’m a fan of the odd musicians like Muddy Waters and Mississippi John Hurt. I like some Tom Waits songs but haven’t delved deep enough to judge how good he may be. On this basis I was more than happy to listen to a blues record as well as being very intrigued as to how it would sit with me.
There’s something about blues music that is seemingly always authentic. Even when on a studio album it sounds just like it would in it’s rawest form. I believe this may add to how a listener receives the album. It doesn’t feel like Old Souls & Wolf Tickets has been pieced together take by take. The soul and heart hasn’t been ripped out of it by over-production or anything like that. In essence I suppose I’m trying to say that it just feels real.
One of the elements I really like this about this album is the simplicity of it. Often blues music can be an over-complicated melee of instruments but here a lot of the songs (It Didn’t Happen Overnight, Sweetie-O) are stripped, laid back arrangements.
Two of the best songs on this record contrast and provide dance driven blues juxtaposed with a bit of country. Two Tone Car is, as it says on the tin, a song about a two tone car. I can only imagine this car as one of the all time worst cars in history but it made one hell of a funky song. Anthem For Old Souls feels pretty much heartbreaking. It sounds like a song that should have closed a film like The Searchers or another movie of that ilk.
Unfortunately no songs from this record are available for streaming but I think you’ll agree this ditty from another record is performed with gusto.
As traditionally blues as this record is I’m sure this would have provided the backbone for many rock and roll records to come. With the best examples coming from Down The Road A Piece which has the flow of many contemporary records (see also Jolie’s Nightmare) and the opening riff too It Don’t Happen Overnight reminds of another more recent song.
Arriving towards the closing moments of the album there is no let up in the scattershot selection of genres. Blood Alley is the intro into a detective drama but cooler than Columbo et all. G-D Damn Liars is another rock and roll/blues standard and a reference to Chuck’s band.
Dixieland Funeral is a fitting climax to a free-spirited record. It brings together most of the elements from all the previous songs and is basically one massive jam. Just for that alone it could be be the magnum opus of the record, quite easily. This record has everything any music fan could want, there are no boundaries to be found anywhere. Did Chuck E Weiss rip up the musical genre rulebook? I think he chewed through it himself.
Old Souls And Wolf Tickets is available for listening here.
Next week will be the obligatory lists week. A new year will soon be upon us so we all have to do lists based on albums and songs. It is the law. A new decade too but I can’t really remember stuff from when I was ten so count that list out. This means you, yes you, have a fortnight to get your recommendations in, so, what are you waiting for? Leave them below, email or tweet them @spotify_tapes if you so wish.
EDIT – You don’t have a fortnight do you? You have a week because I need to listen to the record. Whatever, I passed Maths early y’know so shut it.