Sweet Pie

Pleasure Pudding

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An appealingly freaky mixture of spoken word rambles just this side of stoned babbling and spacy piano blues that sound like what would have happened if Sun Ra had taken his outer-space parade into the honky tonks, Sweet Pie's Pleasure Pudding is both just plain weird and a rollicking, bluesy good time. Sweet Pie, accompanied only by Bill Maloney on harp, doesn't sound like he's actively trying to be weird. Recitations like the shaggy-dog story "The Local Lottery" sound more like Lord Buckley than Wesley Willis, and the extended jam "Too Drunk to Ball" -- which predates the Dead Kennedys' similarly titled ode to incapacitation by nearly a full decade, note -- actually turns into an exciting piano and harmonica duel. The best title of the evening, however, belongs to the loose, funky opening number, "Vermont: A Lazy Man's Colorado." (The album was recorded at live gigs in Sweet Pie's home stomping grounds of Wilmington, VT.) Perhaps not strange enough for fans of "outsider music" to appreciate fully, Pleasure Pudding is an entertaining listen nonetheless.

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