Sunday, March 11, 2007

Freakwater – "War Pigs"

I won't bother writing how labels like "alt-country," "americana," "roots music" or "rural contemporary" (how's that for a contradiction of terms?) don't really apply to Freakwater's music -- because in the end it really doesn't matter what you choose to call it. As a matter of fact with all these silly terms floating around, I think it would be downright embarrassing to have anything to do with the creation of "y'allternative" or "twang-core," wouldn’t you?

When considering all the crap that's written about music and the efforts made to categorize and label artists, I'm always reminded of the words of Duke Ellington: "There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind."

So true.

A relatively hard to come by b-side of the Freakwater "Your Goddamn Mouth" single from 1991 is a cover of the Black Sabbath and all around heavy metal staple "War Pigs." Interestingly enough I remember hearing that Catherine Irwin had never heard the song before partner Janet Bean brought it in as an addition to their otherwise traditional list of cover songs. Their version seems to achieve a most difficult task -- it does the remarkable feat of erasing images of Ozzy and Iommi jamming in zoom vision, not to mention making their anthem against the Military Industrial Complex something quite delicate and beautiful. And that outro --- just plain spooky.

Also, here’s a Freakwater video of "Drunk friend" that looks like it could have been lost in an old Panoram jukebox, complete with poorly synced sound and an evocation of Lonnie Johnson.

1 comment:

Pete Bilderback said...

Thanks for posting this Pete! I remember seeing Freakwater perform live with you at the CBGBs Canteen (or whatever the smaller venue next to the club was called). They were fantastic, and I have been a fan ever since. I hadn't heard their cover of "War Pigs" though. Nice.

Ellington had another phrase he used to describe music he really loved: "beyond category." It was his highest compliment. I think the phrase applies to Freakwater.