Friday, March 27, 2009


I got into FREAKWATER at the dawn of the 90s mostly because Thrill Jockey Records, then a young label helmed by my pal Bettina Richards, put out their stuff. I was slowly getting into country & western music (well no western actually, just country), and my entrée into it back then was full-throated female singers of the 60s. You know, the holy trinity: Loretta, Dolly and Tammy. Still love that stuff to this day, along with their 60s brethren Conway Twitty, Johnny Paycheck, George Jones and Merle Haggard. Though I enjoy a lot of ruff-n-ready, “outlaw” stuff, it’s the syrupy, strings-and-backing-vocals cheeseball country of the 1960s that I listen to. For example – my favorite Wanda Jackson thing I’ve ever heard is a cornball countrypolitan LP called “Cream of the Crop” that’s never been reissued.

Why am I telling you all of this? Aw hell, I don’t know. Blog posts just have a way of writing themselves, usually poorly. So anyway, around this time, 1992-93 or so, my mind was opening to country music in a big way, and that’s when Bettina turned me onto her new signing, FREAKWATER, featuring not one but two fantastic female vocalists. The sad one and the happy one! They’d just released a 45 (not on her label) called “Your Goddamn Mouth”, backed with a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, done all country/a capella-like. I thought the B-side was pretty unamusing, but “Your Goddamn Mouth” totally slayed me. It still does. The follow-up album, the band’s third, on Thrill Jockey, “Feels Like The Third Time” (ha!), was just as good if not better, and I bought pretty much every LP or CD that came after it. Live, they were a hoot. They played a free show in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on my 40th birthday last year – uh OK, the year before – and I had to get together with my family or whatever. So I’m not sure what’s going on with them now. This 45 represents when they burned their brightest, though the rest of the discography definitely deserves some scourin’.

Play Freakwater “Your Goddamn Mouth”

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