Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Songs the Cramps Taught Us: Tav Falco's Panther Burns

A year after working with the Cramps in Memphis to produce tracks that would appear on Songs the Lord Taught Us and Gravest Hits, Alex Chilton was working with Tav Falco to create a masterpiece of wail and reverb on Behind the Magnolia Curtain.

1979 also happened to be the year Chilton released his polarizing Like Flies On Sherbert LP. This is one of those albums you love or hate and critics mostly hate it. I happen to love it, warts and all. "Hey Little Child!" is simply one of Chilton's finest moments. And while there are a few missteps, it's a really enjoyable record that explores rock and roll, country and blues in it's most basic forms.

Tav Falco's Panther Burns Behind The Magnolia Curtain also happens to be one of those records that you'll write off as a lo-fi mess or can't get enough of. The parallels between "Bourgeois Blues" and "Teenage Heart" with what the Cramps were doing during this period is obvious. I've also included the track "Red Headed Woman" from The Unreleased Sessions recorded at Kingsbury High School in Memphis.

In contrast, the track "Pantherman" from the ep Blow Your Top was recorded at Radio City Music Hall and represents Tav's New York period. The guitar on this track does have a nervy, edgy sound that was much more typical of New York than Memphis at the time.

Go man go!


Pete Bilderback said...

Thanks Peter. Great stuff. I love Chilton's "Little Child" too, Tommy Keene did a great cover of that as well.

Roc said...

Didn't the Cramps do a version of Red Headed Woman?

Anonymous said...

Pete H - Thanks for the music. Brilliant.