Henry Flynt

Graduation and Other New Country and Blues Music

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Graduation and Other New Country and Blues Music collects material recorded between 1975 and 1979 by Henry Flynt. His intent was to release an album of avant-garde hillbilly music in 1980, but the project was shelved until the record label Ampersand dusted it down in 2001. The music is enlightened by Flynt's virtuoso fiddling. Uncredited musicians provide drums, bass, rhythm guitar, slide guitar, and occasional saxophone and organ. "Graduation" is the only track with lyrics, a sordid tale of war and coming of age that is sung like an Indian raga. The other pieces range from blues-funk jams ("No Rights") to hoedowns ("A Portrait"). Two more experimental pieces round up the set. "Double Spindizzy" is a bass/guitar blues vamp backed by two violins playing nonstop glissandos in the left and right channels. "Celestial Power" is a country blues-tinged guitar soundscape either multi-tracked and/or played through delay and looping effects. One needs knowledge of country & western music history to fully appreciate the originality of Flynt's work and its uniqueness. Casual listeners may only perceive it as slightly oddball hillbilly music, but the violinist's fire should leave nobody cold. The sense of urgency found in his playing (especially "A Portrait," the masterpiece here) gives this CD extra appeal. In the world of avant-garde music, Flynt's background makes him a stranger kind of strange man.

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