"Field Holler" is the opening piece off the above album, a collection of recordings of the Appalachian tradition ranging from 1944 to 2002. You can listen to more, and buy it, at this link here. There are several gems therein, but "Field Holler" is the one that haunts me. It has some spectral relationship with music I’ve heard from the Solomon Islands, with Bayaka music, with Clive Powell’s rendition of "Reed Sodger." There’s something ancient about it, something that speaks to blood.
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I have, through foul means, come into possession of a copy of the new Titus Andronicus album, THE MONITOR. While very much a sequel to the previous record (THE AIRING OF GRIEVANCES), it has ambitions all its own. Someone’s been listening to very early Billy Bragg a lot, for instance: the song "Richard II" has the shreds of the Bragg song "Richard" embedded in it, and the final track opens with classic Bragg-style narrative songwriting and percussive guitar.
But the most pleasurable surprise on this entertaining record is the piece called "…And Ever," a reprise, late in the album, of a refrain from the second song on it, "Titus Andronicus Forever." Because, for absolutely no reason at all, they redo that refrain as a bit of crackling old-style rhythm and blues, complete with boogie-woogie piano.
And you know what? It just makes me smile.
THE MONITOR is released on 9 March 2010. And this is "…And Ever."
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