The collection of reissued Henry Flynt material continues to grow. Although this unique artist seems to have kept pretty busy setting his ideas down for posterity, the accumulation is still nothing at all like the kudzu plants that seem to have taken over entire neighborhoods in Flynt's native Greensboro, NC, as well as much of the South. Agriculturalists who regret the introduction of this plant as well as musicologists fascinated with Appalachian sounds might agree that a terrain dominated by Flynt recordings rather than kudzu might have been a better thing. It surely would represent much less of a fundamental change. Great sections of these pieces, given typical Flynt titles such as "Informal Hillbilly Jive" or "Jamboree," really do sound like something one might have heard a fiddler playing on the porch somewhere around Mt. Airy, back in the days before SUVs started drowning them out. Especially rich with the flavor of old-timey music are the slow, reflective passages in which Flynt, an accomplished fiddler, lets the melodies play out in a way that has nothing to do with the typical quest to stir up an audience. There are of course other passages in which time simply seems to halt and a cycle of shifting repetitions begins, Flynt reaching a sonic spot that would make a typical Mt. Airy fiddler go inside to get his shotgun. Flynt's music, however, has a much stronger sense of purpose than just to play freak-out with folkies; in the same imagined scenario, the guy with the shotgun might stop to listen to something else Flynt plays while loading his weapon, then change his mind about an exchange of buckshot and go back to get his fiddle after all, this time intent on joining in. Flynt does have his vacant moments, though, such as the opening "Echo Rock," which in simple conceptual terms is just somebody fiddling around with an echo effect.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne