The Reverend Freakchild review…June 10, 2016…

REVEREND FREAKCHILD

ILLOGICAL OPTIMISM

TREATEDANDRELEASED RECORDS  TR 007

CD 1–ODDS ENDS AND OTHER AMAZINGNESS:  IMAGINE–HEY POCKY A-WAY–I STILL HAVE JOY–CRYING HOLY UNTO THE LORD–WHO DO YOU LOVE–ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER–SHARK BOOGIE–PRETTY BOY FLOYD–SWEET SWEET YOU–SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN–BIG MOUTH BLUES–HELL HOUND ON MY TRAIL–YER BLUES–DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY–PLASTIC JESUS/WORKING ON A BUILDING

CD 2–EVERYTHING IS NOW:  ONCE UPON A TIME CALLED RIGHT NOW–ALL I GOT IS NOW–ALL WE GOT IS–ALL I GOT IS NOW–ALLA GOTTA NA’–ALL I WANT IS NOW!–THE BARDO OF THIS LIFE–ICH HAB NUR DIESEN AUGENBLICK (GERMAN VERSION)–TOUT CE QUE J’AI C’EST MAINTENANT (FRENCH VERSION)–ALL IS NOW–EVERYTHING IS NOW…–NOW?

CD 3–KAIROS  RAMBLIN’ JENNINGS: SAFE IN THE STORM–I SAW A WHEEL–PLEASE SEND ME–SINNER BLUES–LIVIN AND DYIN–SILVER SANDALS–JOHN THE REVELATOR–LAST TRAIN BLUES

The Reverend Freakchild’s latest set is indeed an opus.  Three CD’s of some fantastic music from this avant-garde bluesman and one of his special friends make up “Illogical Optimism.”  The first CD consists of cuts recorded with New York’s Hugh Pool, the set’s co-producer and harmonica ace.  Joining on drums is the renowned Chris Parker.  These fifteen cuts go all over the musical map, starting with Lennon’s “Imagine” and The Meters’ “Hey Pocky A-Way” both done up New Orleans style.  He tackles straight gospel with a sweet backing chorus on “I Still Have Joy” and “Cryin’ Holy Unto The Lord.”  Hooker’s “endless boogie” smokes the tires on “Shark Boogie,” and he goes down to the Crossroads for some acoustic blues, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” and “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.”  Our favorite, tho, was a brilliant, reggae-fied take on Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.”

Disc Two is just as unique.  It is built around the Rev’s “Everything Is Now,” where “yesterday is history, and tomorrows are a misery!”  No less than twelve versions of this song are presented, including a funk version that sounds as if it were dropped outta George Clinton’s Mothership.  There’s a hillbilly version with Hugh’s harp, and French and German versions as well!

Disc Three is entitled “Kairos,” and is an excellent example of the Rev’s “do unto others,” philanthropic side.  It consists of eight gospel-influenced blues cuts from Ramblin’ Jennings, a former preacher who’s found his calling singing these gospel blues on the streets of South Beach.  Highlights here are the vocals-and-harp only of “Sinner Blues,” and a chilling a cappella take on “John The Revelator.”

The Reverend Freakchild may be a tad on the “irreverent” side, but he’s got a good heart tucked away inside that bluesman’s soul.  “Illogical Optimism” lets his true passions for the blues, in all their many permutations, shine like a beacon!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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