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Joe Fahey - Bushnell's Turtle

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 23 / 7 / 2011

Joe Fahey - Bushnell's Turtle
Label: Rough Fish Records
Format: CD


Raucous and often comical country rock on inspiring second solo album from Minneapolis-based musician, Joe Fahey

I knew relatively little about Joe Fahey when I first heard this album. Initially apprehensive, I was immediately converted when I read the back cover of the CD which listed Tracks 1-7 as “Side One” and tracks 8-15 as “Side Two.” And then there were the song titles: 'The Art of Happiness Blues (Even the Dalai Lama Wants to Kick Your Ass)', I Couldn’t Steal Her Heart (So I Stole Her Car)', 'The Camel Watusi' – how could I fail to love this album? “Side one” begins with 'Sunday Painter’s Sunday', which sounds like a collaboration between the Monkees and the Ramones. I’m not sure if that simile will appeal to anyone, but I promise it’s infinitely better than my description. It’s real garage rock with a pounding backbeat, great vocal and excellent guitar work. The remainder of the first “side” fairly motors along, going through Dylan-style harmonica and raucous country (Resolution), to what could be an REM backing track ('Half-full'), ending up with a mood akin to Vic Chesnutt’s more upbeat recordings ('Gree'n, 'The Art of Happiness Blues'). “Side two” begins with 'Anyway, Happy Wren Day', a beautiful melody, with an understated production and a vocal just staying on the right side of straining. 'I Couldn’t Steal Her Heart' (So I Stole Her Car) is midway between hilarious and heart-breaking and has an authentic country sound accentuated by David Stenshoel on violin. 'Delta Pine Blues' is a straight 1-4-5 blues piece with country embellishments, while 'Mark of the Wolf' is a worthy addition to the canon of werewolf songs. and 'Camel Watusi' could well be a recently unearthed Zappa recording with its bizarrely humorous lyric and frantic guitar work. By time the album finishes with 'Breakfast with The Loudbeaks', one feels as though one has been on a real journey, filled with excitement and relaxation in equal measure. 'Bushnell’s Turtle' is one of the few albums which held my attention all the way through the first listen – quite simply, I loved it. Great musicians, great lyrics, great album.

Track Listing:-
1 Sunday Sunday's Painter
2 Resolution
3 Half Full
4 Are There Clouds?
5 The Full Moon Last Night
6 Green
7 The Art of Happiness Blues (Even The Dalai Lama Wants to Kick Your Ass)
8 Anyway, Happy Wren Day
9 I Could Not Steal Her Heart (So Stole Her Car)
10 Delta Pine Blues
11 Mark of the Wolf
12 Your Tell-Tale Heart
13 There Goes Johnny Faithful
14 The Camel Watusi
15 Breakfast With the Loudbeaks

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