Jack Oblivian & The Tennessee Tearjerkers + Harlan T. Bobo & The Chimps (Memphis, TN, U.S.A.)

Subota, 15. septembar – Beograd @ SKC
Nedelja, 16. septembar – Pirot @ Dom kulture (Jazz Cafe)
Ponedeljak, 17. septembar – Zagreb @ KSET

Jedan od najuticajnijih garažnih rokera u poslednje dve decenije. Osnivač Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers, Cool Jerks, Limes, Golddiggers… Svirao i u South Filthy, Impala… Poslednjih par godina predvodi Tennessee Tearjerkers, vrhunski spoj Rolling Stones, 60’s punka i soula.

Since 1999, when Jack Yarber formed the Tennessee Tearjerkers, the group has morphed from a lean, coulda-shoulda-rocked-CBGB’s unit into a sprawling, Stones-influenced bar band. However, as evidenced on the Tearjerkers’ latest record, Jack O. Is the Flipside Kid, Yarber himself — veteran of legendary local groups including the Compulsive Gamblers and the Oblivians, — has hardly changed a bit. “I feel like the same person,” Yarber says of the evolution, which has also found him playing in countless small garage combos, such as Loose Diamonds and the Knaughty Knights. Just before Thanksgiving, Yarber returned from a six-week European tour with Harlan T. Bobo, which took the Memphians from Paris to Linkoping, Sweden. For the trip, which also included keyboard player Adam Woodard, Yarber temporarily replaced the Tearjerkers’ precision rhythm section of Terrence Bishop and John Bonds with Bobo and drummer Paul Buchignani; during Bobo’s sets, Yarber traded his guitar and lead mic for the bass. Bobo and Yarber replicated those overseas performances during Memphis Roller Derby’s Ho Ho Ho Burlesque Show at the Hi-Tone Caf� last Saturday night. True to form, Yarber alternately snarled like Iggy Pop, crooned like Nat King Cole, and drawled his lyrics like a down-on-his-luck Hank Williams. One song in, he even relinquished his lead position to Preacher’s Kids frontman Tyler Keith, who leapt from the audience to deliver a frenzied version of “Honky Tonk Women” before smashing the microphone to the stage. Unfazed and perfectly willing to be upstaged, Yarber just shrugged, picked up the mic, and soldiered on. Because he makes it look so simple, it’s easy to overlook the sheer talent that Yarber possesses, especially in a live environment, when the beer is flowing and the dance floor is shaking under the stomping of a hundred pairs of feet. Put on any of his albums, which include 2001’s Bad Mood Rising and 2005’s Don’t Throw Your Love Away, and you’ll be blown away by the diversity of material, which runs the gamut from well-worn R&B covers to a version of Van Halen’s “D.O.A. Blues.” Yet it’s Yarber’s originals that really shine: Listen to the dirgy “Flipside Kid,” the taut, western-influenced “Til the Money Runs Out,” or the fuzzy feedback that drives “Hong Kong Girl,” and you’ll hear the sound of a man who’s comfortable in his own skin. Replay “Golden Age,” which divulges just a few seconds in that “she’s a tragedy,” or the next song, which opens with the line, “Well, let me tell ya about Knick the Knife,” and you’ll get sucked into his pulp-fiction world, which is populated with human Frankensteins, cemetery freaks, and bad girls galore. Yarber’s songwriting skills make the album, recorded in various locations in Detroit and Memphis, sound cohesive, whether tracks feature a full band, drummer Mark Sultan, or just Yarber himself. “Do you think that if I didn’t list the information [in the liner notes], people would notice?” Yarber wonders. “I recorded it over a long period of time. I found out that it’s hard to create an album over a single weekend. ‘Knick the Knife’ came from a Johnny Vomit [and the Dry Heaves, one of Yarber’s longest-running side projects, which dates back to his high school days in Corinth, Mississippi] jam session. Some songs, like ‘Golden Age,’ were instrumentals that I found lyrics for, and a few were cut after I got my four-track machine repaired and I was just trying to see if it was working. The real challenge is doing it live, going from one style to another. The band usually figures it out, knowing when to rock out and when to lay back and swing.” It’s a pretty nonchalant attitude for someone who’s toiled in the music business for two decades while watching friends rocket to success around him. Yet Yarber’s hardly the bitter type. It takes plenty of prodding to get him to talk about the time he persuaded Jack and Meg White to come to Memphis, where they would ultimately record their breakthrough album, White Blood Cells, or admit that MTV faves the Hives have been covering his originals onstage. When asked why he prefers to remain in town, where he’s often forced to pick up a day job to pay his bills, Yarber shrugs. “I’ve made a lot of trips to Detroit, and I thought about living there,” he notes. “But after being up there for a week, I couldn’t really see the difference between Detroit and Memphis. And besides, I did move away. I came from Corinth to Memphis. Here I am.”

Jack Oblivian @ MySpace
Jack Oblivian @ Wikipedia
Oblivians @ Wikipedia

harlan

Najtalentovaniji singer/songwritter današnjice pod snažnim uticajem Alexa Chiltona i Big Star, kao i Jonathana Richmana i Modern Lovers. Od ranije poznat po radu u American Death Ray i The Limes, a poslednjih par godina po sjajnim solo pločama od koji je poslednja, “I’m Your Man”, dobila više nego povoljne kritike. Jedna od tih je i sledeća sa uticajnog Pičforka:

Harlan T. Bobo
I’m Your Man

[Goner Records; 2007]
Rating: 8.1

Not too many people can make maturity and mundanity sound attractive or, god forbid, sexy, but Harlan T. Bobo, age unknown, certainly can. I’m Your Man is only his second album, but already he manages to sound genuinely world-weary, if not (he’ll admit) particularly wise. On the jauntily strummy title track, he seduces a woman by saying he’ll treat her kids like his own– an almost comic understatement of a traditional blues come-on. Bobo doesn’t even try to pass himself off as anything but a fixer-upper: “I skip parties and dodge all your friends,” he sings candidly, the line evoking a scene of desperate passes and lowered expectations. Likewise, the remark “A pragmatic woman is the only kinda woman can make a good man outta me,” from “Pragmatic Woman”, implies overdrawn checking accounts, messy rooms, and a woman with a big job on her hands.

Singing in a grainy barroom tenor that barely suppresses his ironies, irritations, and mannish-boy insecurities, Bobo sees the humor in these lyrics, but never plays his songs strictly for laughs. The album suggests that he knows he’s been wasting his time and has fewer opportunities because of it: “I don’t do what I should,” he sings on “My Life”, “to make my life good.” As his opportunities dwindle, he sees death looming just beyond the reach of his lyrics. “My Life” and “Last Step” worry over the inevitable end, but such gravity bumps elbows with winking levity. “Baptist Memorial”, with its doo-wop backing vocals and organ pulsing like a heart monitor, finds him hospitalized; as his doctors warn against strenuous movement or overexcitement, all he can think of is the hot RN and “a time when you dressed as my nurse/ It really turned us on.”

Bobo may be trying to settle down, but musically he’s still playing the field. I’m Your Man is all over the place: muddy guitar rock, acoustic folk in the Leonard Cohen vein (of course), hell-bent country that pours some out for Townes Van Zandt. There are some specifically Memphis notes as well, such as the Reigning Sound guitars on the chorus of “My Life” and the slightly-higher-than-lo-fi Grifters scuzz on “God’s Lamb” and “Sick of It”. That’s appropriate considering the local who’s who that guests on the album: there’s a Grifter (Dave Shouse), two Reigning Sounds (Alex Greene and Jeremy Scott), and a former Afghan Whig (Paul Buchignani), as well as Doug Easley, Alicja Trout, and local horn players Jim Spake and Scott Thompson. Bobo seems game for any direction they want to take him, amiably presiding over the crowded proceedings as if holding court at the P&H. The result is a homegrown album that ably exploits Bobo’s local connections, his musical eccentricities, his grim self-reflective humor, and his painfully heightened sense of irony.

After he finally pledges his loyalty to that pragmatic single mom, she promptly dumps him. The final two songs allow him to vent his resentment and lick his wounds: “One of These Days” might sound particularly nasty without his resigned vocals and the song’s airy Morricone vibe, and closer “Pretty Foolish Things”, recorded live at local indie station WEVL, is the lesson learned: “I can’t be trusted with cash,” he sings, then later: “I can’t be trusted with love/ I always throw away my love on pretty foolish things… like you.”

-Stephen M. Deusner, July 31, 2007

Harlan T. Bobo @ MySpace
Harlan T. Bobo @ Goner Records

bilbord

NAJAVA:
Rokenrol prestonica, Memfis, poslednjih 10-15 godina gospodari modernom garažnom scenom u SAD. Čini se da, pored Detroita, jedino još tamo bendovi niču kao pečurke posle kiše i sviraju dobar rokenrol neopterećen težnjom da se ‘proda’, unovči ili doživi furiozni uspeh snimanjem preskupih spotova za MTV. Možda je razlog tome dolazak velikog maga Jeffa Evansa (Gibson Bros) koji je oko sebe okupio većinu lokalnih punkera i naučio ih nekim starijim formama kao što su blues ili soul, pa su se momci utrkivali koji će bend bolje da savlada domaće zadatke, a možda i zato što je u većini jedna od glavnih uloga po pravilu bivala rezervisana za Jacka Obliviana (pravo ime Jack Yarber).
Jackov prvi zapaženiji bend su svakako Oblivians, osnovani u prvoj polovini 90-tih bili su pravo osveženje sa neobičnim konceptom 3 pankera sviraju blues, nema basa i sva trojica se smenjuju na gitarama, bubnjevima i vokalima. Snimili su 3 albuma za Crypt Records, par mini albuma i jednu kompilaciju neobjavljenih snimaka za SFTRI + malo brdo singlova za nebrojene etikete. Jedini pravi naslednici The Gories i bend za kakav Jon Spencer nikada nije imao petlju, raspao se iznenada i bez svađe. Eric Oblivian se posvetio svojoj maloj izdavačkoj kući Goner Records, Greg Oblivian na kratko je lutao da bi se skrasio sa Reigning Sound i ove godine uspeo da snimi album sa 60’s legendom iz Shangri-Las – Mary Weiss, a Jack je snimao što solo, što sa prijateljima iz grada, te se obreo i u par lokalnih all-star bendova. Zapravo, nastavio je tačno tamo gde je stao sa Oblivians – istraživanje na temu interakcija punk estetike i snažne emocije blues/soul pesme. Zajedničko za sve bendove sa kojima je sarađivao su po pravilu visoke kritike albuma i pomanjkanje želje da se u vreme White Stripes uspeha neki od njih i ‘okoristi’. Verovatno je i to njegova zasluga jer ga takve stvari očito nikada nisu zanimale. Malo je poznato da je on nagovorio Jacka Whitea da u Easley studiju snime album koji će ih poslati u orbitu, a još manje da je legendarna crvena gitara koju White svira u spotu Seven Nation Army nekada krasila kolekciju Jacka Obliviana.
Poslednji bend koji je naš junak formirao jesu Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjekrers. Objavili su tri albuma za SFTRI, a prošlogodišnji, «The Flip Side Kid», po običaju ubire pozitivne ocene nezavisne muzičke štampe, ali i magazina koji prevashodno tretiraju komercijalnu muziku. Zvuk Rolling Stonesa iz vremena «Exile On Main St.» i «Sticky Fingers» izmešan sa lokalnim nasleđem bele i crne muzike i propušten kroz Yarberov punk rock filter na samom kraju je svež, dok svo blues i soul prisustvo u pesmama ovog benda dođe poput neizostavnih začina bilo kojeg jela. Uvek dobra, a uvek drugačija jambalaya. Uopšte nije iznenađujuće da The Hives redovno na koncertima sviraju jednu od Yarberovih pesama iz Oblivians perioda jer je stariji kolega takoreći doktorirao garage-punk i to odavno.
U paketu sa novim bendom Jacka Obliviana stiže i Harlan T. Bobo sa bendom The Chimps, ne još dugo samo lokalna singer/songwriter atrakcija grada u Tenesiju. Ovaj momak jedno vreme je svirao sa American Death Ray (docnije poznati kao Viva L’American Death Ray Music), ali je pre 4 godine napustio grupu i posvetio se solo karijeri. Njegov prvi album, «Too Much Love», je dugo čekao na regularno izdanje no to Harlanu nije smetalo da ga umnoži u hiljade primeraka i prodaje na piratskim diskovima, od kuće. Otuda i bar 3 različite verzije omota ploče. Ovogodišnji LP – «I’m Your Man» – već je napravio pravi mali metež na singer/songwriter sceni i to nije moglo da promakne oku kritike, čak ni one koja talenat ne bi primetila ni da im se ispred nosa pojavi. Zanimljiv i izuzetno neobičan spoj Modern Lovers, Big Star i lokalnog nasleđa, odlično snalaženje na terenu ne tako redovnom za jednog bivšeg garažnog rokera, jasno artikulišu Harlanov dar za pisanje pesama. S druge strane i on, kao i Jack, boluje od manjka uobraženosti i sujete, danas na žalost neophodnih da se dođe do znatno šire popularnosti. Otuda će put ka slavi i ovog macana biti naporan, trnovit i, najverovatnije, duži nego što takav talenat zaslužuje. No, to je ono što su sami izabrali – da se više bave muzikom, dakle, onim što znaju i za šta su nadareni, a znatno manje marketinškim trikovima u koje ne samo da nisu upućeni, već ni ne haju za iste. Upravo zbog ovoga biće beskrajno dragi svim pravovernim rokenrolerima, a takvih je uvek u dovoljnom broju.
Jack Oblivian & The Tennessee Tearjerkers i Harlan T. Bobo & The Chimps u okviru evropske turneje sviraju u beogradskom SKC-u u subotu 15. septembra, u pirotskom Domu kulture (nedelja, 16. septembar) i u zagrebačkom KSET-u (ponedeljak, 17. septembar).
Tek nešto malo posle tridesetogodišnjice od Elvisove smrti imamo priliku da pogledamo dva izuzetna rokera iz Memfisa sa pratećim im bendovima. Ako mislite da je to slučajno, grdno se varate.

Harlan T. Bobo – God’s Lamb
Harlan T. Bobo – Baptist Memorial
Harlan T. Bobo – My Life
Harlan T. Bobo – Last Step
Harlan T. Bobo – Too Much Love

Tearjerkers – White Lie, Black Eye
Tearjerkers – Wire Tapper Calling
Tearjerkers – Teeny Weeny Little Bit
Tearjerkers – Earthquake Date (Pretty Bad Baby)
Tearjerkers – D.O.A. Blues
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Ain’t Got No Money
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Too Hard To Hold
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Flash Cub
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – A Bullet For Ramona
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Fire
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Flip Side Kid
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Hong Kong Girl
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Chills & Fever
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – John Holmes Blues

Cool Jerks – For A Little While
Cool Jerks – Friend Of A Loner
Cool Jerks – Can’t Quit
Cool Jerks – Skip A Bit
Cool Jerks – Certified Fool
Cool Jerks – Why Can’t I…

Oblivians – Indian In Me
Oblivians – Don’t Haunt Me
Oblivians – Robot Blues
Oblivians – Trouble
Oblivians – Do The Milkshake
Oblivians – Strong Come On
Oblivians – Show Me What You Like
Oblivians – Show Me Again
Oblivians – Blew My Cool
Oblivians – Never Change

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