Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Sadness of the Dying Bullfighter

P.W. Long started out his career in singing and playing guitar in Mule, a southern-fried (but from Detroit) pig fuck outfit that ran in the usual crowd: recorded with Steve Albini, released albums on Touch & Go, etc. I saw them at the New Music Seminar (a CMJ competitor, long defunct) in New York City when I was but a wee teenager. They had this great power and bluster and gave you the feeling that the fractured rythmns of the band might send them literally flying off the stage. I also heard that P.W. always sang without any vocals in the monitors so he would scream louder. That's most likely made up, but it certainly sounds that way.

Mule - Hayride
buy it!

Mule parted ways in the late 90's and P.W. (living in Philly now) started with the solo albums. More influenced by soul, folk and classic rock than the Mule albums, his solo albums focus (and reward) with their songwriting and big heart. The song below is the saddest I've ever heard about your best friend (in this case, his dog) dying on you.

P.W. Long - Aw Bruiser
buy it!

P.W. was never very prolific after he went solo and I heard that he had a serious drinking problem too, which could explain his lack of output. Nonetheless, the two albums that I have (haven't heard the latest) are solid gold.

Our man played many a show with Richard Buckner and this last track was captured on tape by Secretly Canadian's Jonathan Cargill before one of their sets. It's just Buckner and Long playing a dark and chilling version of this old traditional. It was released on The Unaccompanied Voice: An A Capella Compilation (the tune is just claps and vocals) and it will stick in the brain.

Richard Buckner & P.W. Long - Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down

buy it!


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