I got interested in The Mountain Goats from hearing Steven Page’s cover of “Lion’s Teeth” on the A Singer Must Die album. They have a varied catalog, which I’ve only scratched the surface of, but I was quite charmed by their 2015 bBeat the Champ album, singer-songwriter John Darnielle’s tribute to the professional wrestling he was fascinated by as a child and an adolescent, a lifeline to hold on to in his abusive home and school environment. Although I don’t think my childhood was a horrific as Mr. Darnielle’s, I do remember how weirdly important professional wrestling seemed (this was way before I read Roland Barthes), in that it always threatened to make sense of the chaos of reality, although often resolving into more chaos (which had the odd effect of making it seem both more scripted and more authentic). If you have memories of seventies and eighties professional wrestling, you might find this fun; if not, it may be sort of horrifying. In any event, don’t try this at home.
This is my third “High Wide and Handsome: The Chairlie Poole Project slideshow. This is actually a traditional song that Charlie Poole recorded. It apparently exists in many different versions, my impression is that Loudon took verses from different versions, with the first three of so coming from Charlie’s version. Thus Loudon’s version (written with producer Dick Connette) is kind of a composite of a long ago American classic of traditional music (aka “old-timey” music). It is a sort of a variation on a tall tale, unstuck in time and space, travelling widely through world history although always returning to America. It’s supposed to be humorous, and I’ve tried to highlight the humor in my slideshow (I’m actually kind of proud of the way the film overlays turned out). By the way “rushing the can,” means to go get liquor in a bucket or can–I looked it up. I would hesitate to speculate on the “meaning” of this song, but it sure is a lot of fun. I hope you think so too.