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Jo Robertson/Tom Greenwood/David Cunningham - Maybelle

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 12 / 11 / 2011

Jo Robertson/Tom Greenwood/David Cunningham - Maybelle
Label: Fire Records
Format: 7"


Bleak and improvised vinyl only single from Blackpool folk musician Jo Robertson, Jackie-O-Motherfucker front man Tom Greenwood and multimedia artist and producer David Cunningham

'Maybelle' and its B-side 'Metal Rims' are the product of an evening of improvisation at David Cunningham's London studio. The lyrics of 'Maybelle' are based on two 1960's Texas prison works songs, 'Drop ‘em Dead' by David Tippet and 'Believe I’ll Call the Rider' by J.C. Spring. 'Metal Rims' is an improvised instrumental which, like 'Maybelle', features the guitar playing of Greenwood and Robertson and the editing of Cunningham. 'Maybelle' begins with swirling electronic textures which continue under a basic guitar line and a two part vocal. The track’s production is deep and muddy, and the backing track bubbles atonally under the melody. The vocal delivery, both solo and duet, is laconic and utterly devoid of enthusiasm. Musically and lyrically the song is a bleak piece, and I found it to be a decidedly charmless affair. 'Metal Rims', the instrumental b-side, is slightly more upbeat, and Cunningham’s background textures are much more effective than on 'Maybelle'. The track gently ambles along, with doodling guitar lines over bubbling swells of electronica, but it never seems to actually go anywhere. As an instrumental passage on an album or a soundtrack, it would work pretty well, but as a stand-alone track it simply does not have enough about it to hold one’s attention. Personally I found it difficult to relate to the music, particularly 'Maybelle' – its musical and lyrical imagery was simply too bleak for me. Metal Rims does show some promise, however, and illustrated the potential of the band’s own material, especially Cunningham’s production.

Track Listing:-
1 Maybelle
2 Metal Rims

Label Links:-

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