Eugene Chadbourne

Country Music of Southeastern Australia

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One of Chadbourne's earlier releases that explored the sparsely inhabited territory where noisy free improv meets country & western, this album contains many of the charms as well as a bunch of the irritations that have become hallmarks of his work. Packaged as an anthropological field recording complete with arcane faux liner notes (à la John Fahey) and recorded in Chadbourne's trademark ultra lo-fi fashion, the songs wander from his touching "The Bully Song" to the sophomoric political "satire" of "Private Club." The covers range from country classics by Willie Nelson to standards by that old bluegrass pioneer, Duke Ellington. As usual, the pleasures derived from Chadbourne's impressive guitar and banjo plucking are balanced by his snide vocalizing and the self-righteous impression he gives of believing that he's making earth-shatteringly deep statements while delivering adolescent whining and trite platitudes. Still, there's more free improvisation and enjoyable noise on this album than many others from the period, so listeners who prefer to hear Chadbourne in a more purely instrumental setting could do worse.

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