Don't Punk Out was first released on LP by Emanem in 1979. The album then consisted of 16 tracks recorded by Frank Lowe (tenor saxophone) and Eugene Chadbourne (electric and acoustic guitar) on October 13, 1977. For the CD reissue, Chadbourne dug up three Lowe pieces he recorded on guitar in 1979, while Lowe went back into the studio in April 2000 to record three fresh solo tracks (one composition and tunes by Oliver Nelson and Don Cherry). Both musicians agreed on aiming at short pieces for this session. Each one brought a handful of compositions, the title track was written in collaboration, and two free improvs were also recorded, along with Albert Ayler's "Ghosts" and a Sonny Rollins favorite "Fire Down There." True to both musicians, most of the music is manic, punchy, with an intensity heighten by the shortness of the takes. Chadbourne's "The Clam" is a complete theme-solos-recap jazz tune in 55 seconds. But surprisingly, this duo could also quiet down, as exemplified by "Fright" and the very nice "You Were Right in the First Place." As usual with Chadbourne, there is a strong feeling of controlled sloppiness, although fans will find him more tidy than usual. Not a stellar recording, Don't Punk Out remains an enjoyable album and a good testimony of what these two could do together. The three bonus Lowe solos put the cherry on top of the sundae.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture