Mo' Width

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

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Mo' Width Review

by Mark Deming

Just as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion released Crypt Style almost concurrently with their 1992 debut album, the sessions for their second "official" album, Extra Width, produced enough outtakes to fill a sibling LP, and close to the same time Extra Width arrived in stores, Au-Go-Go Records in Australia released Mo' Width, which featured 11 more tracks from Spencer and company. While Crypt Style was actually a better album than The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Mo' Width runs a close second to Extra Width; like Crypt Style, Mo' Width is a wilder-sounding and more energetic set than its better-known counterpart, and it even leads off with the same song, an alternate take of "Afro." But while the performances on Mo' Width are fiery and the band cooks with gas on "Out of Luck" and "Wet Cat Blues," this album has some obvious filler, most notably a goofy cover of "There Stands the Glass" that doesn't go anywhere and a noise collage build around the song-poem "Beat of the Traps" that's never as weird as the original, hard as it tries. And while JSBX cut a mighty Stax-style groove on the closer, "Memphis Soul Typecast," as soon as Cristina Martinez pops up to giggle her way though a description of the day's soul food special, it loses its balance. There's enough that's good on Mo' Width to make it worthwhile for loyal Blues Explosion fans, but casual admirers will get along without it just fine.

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