Camper Van Chadbourne

Psychadelidoowop

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This one is a very good outing by Camper van Chadbourne -- wild, varied, and very well recorded. Consisting of a studio session with some live tracks mixed in and a final concert performance, Psychadelidoowop presents a selection of cover songs backed by field recordings. Tibetan conversations, night trains, and German newspaper vendors give each piece a unique feel. But what steals the show is the quality of these renditions. Take "Knock on the Door," a classic Phil Ochs song already recorded a few times by Doctor Chadbourne. Slowed down, soberly performed, and spiced up by the door knocks that call able men to the serve the flag, it sends chills down your spine. Jonathan Segel gives a good vocal performance in "Right Track" (and plays some mean mandolin, too). Donovan's "Summer Day Reflection" is given an avant psychedelic reading -- delightful. But the oddest track has to be Funkadelic's "Wiggles the Worm," played on banjo, bass, and dan tranh plus some cheap electronic toys! These performances are brightened up by more production care than what fans of Chadbourne are used to. "Saint John's River" and "Good Year for the Wine" introduce a sloppier element, in this case well received. Two versions of Miles Davis' "Milestones" bookend the album, first in the studio and then live. There you have it: In one hour, Chadbourne, Segel, and Victor Krummenacher (with the help of Walter Malli and Graham Connah on one track each) have taken listeners through fusion jazz, country, psychedelic pop, folk, and funk. And you know what? It holds together, thanks to the craziness of this group, rarely better channeled than on this album.

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