Richard Leo Johnson and Gregg Bendian — Who Knew Charlie Shoe?
(Cuneiform Rune 258, 2007, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01
Guitarist Richard Leo Johnson has again created a mythical context for the material on this latest disc, a story about a young boy who was transfixed by an old guitar-playing hobo at a church social picnic, and followed by pestering his folks until they bought him his own guitar, which he promptly teaches himself to play. RLJ plays the 20 pieces here on half a dozen vintage guitars in a fingerpicking and slide style that fully embraces down-home Americana, and a classic concertina. He is joined by percussionist “Junk Fish” aka Greg Bendian. Percussion in this case means washboard, spoons, blocks of wood and metal, pots and pans, plastic jugs, sheet metal, hub caps, and… well, just about anything within striking distance. The songs are brilliantly supported by sound effects, phone calls, bits of radio, barking dogs, and other field recordings that bring the story to life, but not in a way that forces the story – it just helps set the mood for what they are trying to accomplish, and doing it amazingly well. All taken, this is an outstanding release that hits the mark on many levels – as an explorative guitar album that offers a unique perspective (occasionally reminiscent of folks like Carl Weingarten, or early John Fahey), and also as a storybook development for Johnson’s concept. Superb on every level.
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Bob Lind - Elusive Butterfly - The Complete 1966 Jack Nitzsche Sessions – In the early sixties at the height of the folk boom, Denver based singer/songwriter Bob Lind was regularly working the coffee houses in the area, and later (as the local folk scene dried up) moved to... (2008) » Read more