(Or:- Let’s all sing along with Homesick Aldo, it’s the cognitive dissonance blues)
“Played a gig with Aldo on the bill a few months back… interesting fellow.” Jeff Duffy – Shock and Awe.
Starting with, and sustaining for its duration, the sorta hundred carat harmonica boogie backed up in its tribal drum thump and all the more amazing when you hear it’s a one-man band. I listened to Homesick Aldo’s Talkin’ Innocent Outlaw Blues with a smile of old-time affection bolted to my face with rivets of joy because throughout his orgy of country bluesisms and boot-tappin’ rhythms he invites us to spend 35 minute stints in a world without knowing irony; without post-everything refusenik balderdash where a man can genuinely sing a song about an alligator and a wolf and you ain’t gonna laugh at him. Here’s how good it is, I listened to it and spent the next few days re-spinning it and caught myself drinking moonshine and standing with my hips cocked and thumbs in my belt leaning against the bar. Homesick Aldo is at best a hopeless eccentric and at his most tragic a man terribly out of time and space who should have rocked the East Village folk movement just before the whole ‘Nam business. It’s powerfully nostalgic stuff. Word has it Aldo was once the frontman of a group called the Soul City Shakers (wait… what?) and by accounts of that group (they tore up every gig they played), he hasn’t changed in the slightest. Still wearing the leather jacket and sunglasses like a throwback throwback to a lost age. By all accounts his solo album (Talkin’ Innocent Outlaw Blues… I mean seriously!) rings exactly the same bell of utter stupidity and inanity simultaneously with the white-hot light of flawless genius. ‘Course Aldo went from the Soul City Shakers to solo, ‘cause there can’t be that many heads in Fife of all places that’ll want to partake in reflexive short-lived experimental test-flight throwback bands; there can’t be anyone with the total absence of self-awareness to belt out these lyrics and rock this look, nor anyone with the total devotion to the cause to actually pull the thing off and make it work.
There aren’t too many times or too many places for Aldo to ply his ludicrous jams; but everywhere he jams, with just his perfected harmonica wails and tribal drumming, his total devotion to the look and self-belief sell it instantly and he brings the house down. Self-proclaimed king of the Scottish “chitlin new wave vaudeville punk blues medicine show” circuit (and possibly only non-ironic member) Homesick Aldo presents something wholly new to anyone making music today. Music is a cruel and dirty business, not unlike politics; backstabbing, selling yourself to get a record out, selling everything you believe in for a shot at the big time… it’s such a vile, contemptible corrupting business and the second you sell a record you’re officially a part of the club for life; so the only true rock and roll revolutionaries are the ones who are so revolutionary they’ll never sell a record, they’ll never succeed, and while those exposed to the blinding light of Homesick Aldo’s genius are instantly converted and taken to that non-ironic place where they sit with the album on umpteenth rotation and type with all seriousness: Aldo is a lyrical genius. Like everything Aldo, there’s a whole new Sheriff in town who is both a god-given Great Magnet-inflected genius and a laugh-out loud stupid through-and-through. Aldo’s lyrics consist of finding, between perfectly pitched harmonica wails and over the top of simplistic organic drumming, new ways to repeat the same lyric line again and again and again. How is this possible? He’s a leather-jacketed Fifer fool out of time and out of space banging a drum seemingly at random, volleying off harmonica riffs like arrows loosed from a Cherokee’s horse singing a song called Rock n Roll, in which the title is at least half of the lyrics, the other half list drinks: “ahh lahk ma co-fee, cowd in th’ mo’nin, ahh take ma tea, sweed at naht”… WHAT? That is utterly stupid! That is mind-numbingly dumb and pathetic in a really very sad way… no marketer, or company man or greed head would ever allow anything like that near a debut album or anyone like Aldo near a studio, but I utterly love it, not in a post-everything irony way, I genuinely have a deep-felt deep-down warm feeling about that song and all the others because they are on a debut abum… and it’s the album of the year so far.
|Aldo, too weird to live, too rare to die|
That’s right, you heard me. Damn, I’ll have to have a long and miserable article explaining why I have four albums of the year (and counting, still got that Dead Skeletons follow-up on Fuzz Club so might make a nice round five) but Homesick Aldo, for his wholehearted acceptance of everything that in any less studied hands would become laugh-out-loud material, and his clay-moulding it into something not only serious but transcendentally brilliant and paradigm shifting, deserves a nod. Explaining this to you I betcha think I’m either doing my bit for charity or ironically diggin’ on this like we all like Abba now… no sir-ee, I really reckon you ought to go right out to New Town Productions leather’d up with yer oldest gen-u-ine-est denim jeans and demand a copy of Talkin’ Innocent Outlaw Blues; because you’ll love it too. When he turns up with only a harmonica, and a leather jacket and drums and looks like he does, and he’s in some Fife bar and mixed in with indyfolky tedium bands and everyone’s half-boozed and he’s called Homesick Aldo… and then he starts to play… and suddenly you find yourself grinning, really grinning, and taking whoever you can find by the arm and launching into a half-drunk stumblejive and laughing, not laughing at Aldo, or with him (‘cause he’s deadly serious) but just laughing and smiling and sharing a moment at the sheer unbridled joy, and share a moment of the same reaction I have to Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, and Goat as well; a guiltless hangoverless ecstasy and deep-felt old-timey happiness at being alive.
Help yo'sel' over at New Town Records bandcamp page.
Written under duress by Steven.