Ready for the House
To bring you up to date, Jandek has released about 52 records, and I haven't heard one of them. So I'm going to listen to each one in chronological order. And tell you about it. We begin at the beginning, Jandek's first release, Ready for the House. It was released in 1978. These are my impressions.
It's a guy and his guitar. Can't get more rock and roll than that. This guy is so rock and roll that he doesn't even TOUCH the fretboard of his guitar. And it sounds like he doesn't even care if you hear his songs anyway.
1 - Naked In The Afternoon
Notes get plucked on an acoustic guitar, words get sung, and the beat is monstrous. The beat is not however on the record. The beat is hidden away in all the silence of the record, but it comes stomping out anyway. Mental picture of a janitor at an early rock and roll recording studio taking some time out during his graveyard shift to try his hand at what them blues cats was playing earlier.
2 - First You Think Your Fortune's Lovely
He's a sonombulist blues howler. Holding a melting watch in his left hand. Singing in an abandoned saloon. I don't know what he's singing about, but so far, the album doesn't stink.
3 - What Can I Say, What Can I Sing
Finger picking, like slow wind chimes. Still not touching the fretboard. Floating around David Lynch's grandmother's room. Jandek appears singing this song on the black and white television set. A long sad message is being recorded on a mute answering machine. The fog rolls in.
4 - Show Me The Way, Oh Lord
It would be so perfect if nobody but Jandek ever heard this stuff, but it's still cool that the rest of us to listen in.
I see the microphone taped to a broom taped to a chair.
5 - Know Thy Self
The carcass of Jandek walks the streets at night, strumming his guitar and singing. No one sees him, no one hears him, but he is there.
6 - They Told Me About You
Uh-oh, Jandek is pissed. Performed at 4am in the basement in front of a photo of a girl. He doesn't want to wake the neighbors, but he is pissed. The melody is an angry western horror movie slow finger pick. Folk Throbbing Gristle.
7 - Cave In On You
The silent heavy rhythm returns. A dead guy singing the blues.
8 - They Told Me I Was A Fool
The hardest rocking tune on the album so far, if that means anything. Once again, Jandek gets angry and this time almost starts to tap his foot.
9 - European Jewel (incomplete take)
Jandek with an electric guitar! Still alone, still quiet, but it is an electric guitar and he is touching the fretboard! Sounds like Jandek in is in heaven, real actual heaven. The song is very natural and very Velvety Undergroundy is a very good way. Holy Crap! Jandek plays a solo! And it's a good one! Whoa, quick ending.
Overall a good experience. 43 minutes not wasted!