February 18, 2010

Week 24 - Ray Wylie Hubbard - A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint There Is No C)

(Week 24 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks) 

“I can say that Muddy Waters is as deep as William Blake.”

- “Down Home Country Blues”

Ray Wylie Hubbard
A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C)
Bordello Records

Ray Wylie Hubbard is the only person I know that can put as much passion into singing about the Apocalypse as singing about a wasp nest on his back porch. He takes a song about baptism as serious as one about banging pots and pans. With A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) he explores these subjects and much more.

The title track is the classic song about life being a choice, this time in a very Edgar Allen Poe manner with a black sparrow coming to him in a dream. In “Drunken Poet’s Dream” Hubbard rhymes “gasoline” with “mescaline”  “scream” and “dream” and you can’t help but sing along. “Tornado Ripe” tells the story of a natural disaster. “Wasp’s Nest” is a crawling blues song about… well… wasps.  “Pots and Pans” is simplistic and amazing. “Every Day Is The Day Of The Dead” is one of the tracks he wrote for the upcoming movie he wrote called Last Rites of Ransom Pride.

It amazes me how Hubbard can grasp and sing about deeply religious themes in such a moving way. Between his raspy voice, the hauntingly beautiful music, and the words he chooses to paint the picture it’s an amazing listen. On A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) he gives us two such tracks – the revival inspired “Whoop and Hollar” and “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” the song taken from the pages of Revelation. “Black and Red, White and Pale. Death and War, Famine and Pestilence. The end will begin with the sound of approaching hoof beats of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

The rock and roll song akin to his “Live and Die Rock and Roll.” “Rock and Roll’s A Vicious Game” is the killer “Loose.”  It’s actually a post-death memory of someone who never stopped living the “rock and roll” lifestyle. “Now the girl walked like she was on Bourbon Street. In those days she had grown men kneeling at her feet. She took to an old profession as a source of revenue. Now all she’s taking with her is a dress from Sacks Fifth Avenue.”

A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) was released in mid-January and I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Hubbard and interview him for the cover story of January’s INsite Magazine. You can read that story here - http://insiteaustin.blogspot.com/2010/01/ray-wylie-hubbard-110.html.

You know... it shouldn't surprise me that Hubbard can be so passionate about seemingly trivial things like wasps... he is the one who brought us "Snake Farm," "Screw You We're From Texas" and "Redneck Mother." All great songs by the way. For more about Ray Wylie Hubbard, visit his website - http://www.raywylie.com/

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