Jad Fair / Daniel Johnston

It's Spooky

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Originally released in 1989, this collaboration between the two songwriters is about as ramshackle as you can get. Drumbeats are notably out of step, vocals creak, and melodies lurch and stop. Not that this should come as any surprise to anyone with any familiarity with the two, as amateurishness is often the name of the game. This record originally came out on Jad Fair's label and is reissued here with six extra tracks. Covers include "Happy Talk," Phil Och's "Chords of Fame," Glass Eye's "Kicking the Dog," a deconstructed "Tomorrow Never Knows," and the Butthole Surfers' "Sweet Loaf," here retitled "Sweet Loafed." This might be the best representation of the two musicians, with the give and take occasionally resembling a kind of stumbling electric jug band on songs like "Something's Got a Hold of Me." The most impressive thing about the disc is the sheer exuberance for music that is felt every step of the way. The simple expressions and blunt descriptions are often charming and beautiful in their out-of-step way, especially during "I Did Acid With Caroline." It's one of the many moments where you realize that -- at the core -- this is wonderful, stripped-down-to-the-core indie pop with a huge heart. Whether or not this is a lost masterpiece is not quite etched in stone, but it is indeed an excellent portrait of obvious fan-boy eagerness and musical joy. Musical joy that -- at over 70 minutes -- might need to be spaced out accordingly.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1:55 Spotify
2 3:03 Spotify
2:30 Spotify
4 4:11 Spotify
0:43 Spotify
1:42 Spotify
7 1:55 Spotify
8 1:08 Spotify
9 1:53 Spotify
2:13 Spotify
11 0:53 Spotify
12 2:20 Spotify
13 2:21 Spotify
2:03 Spotify
15 2:56 Spotify
2:50 Spotify
2:01 Spotify
18 2:38 Spotify
19 2:55 Spotify
20 0:32 Spotify
4:14 Spotify
3:03 Spotify
23 0:47 Spotify
24 2:15 Spotify
1:15 Spotify
26 2:57 Spotify
27 3:00 Spotify
28 1:52 Spotify
1:23 Spotify
30 3:03 Spotify
31 2:47 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick