whiskey and apples

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Black, "Tanglewood"



A few nights ago, Austin's The Black recorded at Big Orange studios under the watchful eye of SOUND Team's Bill Baird.

J. Van Fleet and I showed up at about 11 with pretty good buzzes on and started mixing Vodka tonics. Hanging around while The Black recorded was a real thrill. We danced around and found instruments so we could play along and then mixed more drinks. Their new recording is something of an experiment, recorded on tape in realtime in the wide open space of Big Orange.

I'll just start by saying singer David Longoria continues to impress me with his Burroughs-influenced lyrics and consistent approach. Now with two substantial tours under their belt from the past year, these musicians have reached a point as a band where they're completely clear on their sound. Guitars by Alan Schaefer, drums by Yamal Said, and bass by Adam Amparan blend perfectly in a kind mid-60s San Francisco blues throwback to compliment Longoria's Beat-influenced songs. So with their new record in the works, I'm going to recommend their last release, "Tanglewood" on K Woo Records. You can order it here from Insound.

"Appletree" is a swell, good-times number whose double-entendre reminds me of the Delta days when Mississippi John Hurt would talk about his "stick of candy." Of course I'm not sure if that's what Longoria really intended with, "you can climb up my apple tree," but technically Mississippi John might have been talking about actual candy, too.

There's the lovely, sentimental "Wasn't It A Good Year." Longoria's voice when he sings, "as certain as a storm passing over a meadow," has an honesty to it that's rarely captured in a recording. The last track, "JB Lenoir Street," is fine, old-fashioned, Dylan-and-the-Band style psychedelic blues. "I'll take you to the train station, you'll figure something out," it begins. That's as good a line to start a song with as any I've heard.

To hear music from The Black, visit their myspace page.

To conclude the story of the other night at Big Orange, it ended with drunken antics. I wrestled with Bill (30 pounds lighter) in the gravel, and after that was done I wrestled with Jared (30 pounds heavier) and in the end everyone put up a good fight, I'd say. You don't really know a dude 'til you wrassle him. The Black intelligently refrained from fighting in the gravel, but I'll get em riled up one day soon.

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