Share TEXAS FUNERAL – Jon Wayne (Third Man Records)
Stop the press! Jack White’s Third Man Records re-release an earth shattering genre classic. Hold on to your hat, fanboy.
If you were to check this disc out on Amazon, you’d see a seemingly endless parade of punters giving five star reviews and calling this the best album in the history of the world, ever. So what do I know? I know shit when I hear it. To paraphrase the words of Lester Bangs, be honest and be merciless. If they’re sucking donkey’s dicks, they should be told. It’s for their own fucking good to let them know when the emperor has no fucking clothes, man. And this is as naked as only a cold floor turd can be.
I first became aware of this disc when a copy was thrust into my hand by my friend Jason at Mojo Records. Wild eyed, he told me I had to love this. He told me it was like Hasil Adkins and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Warning bells began to ring as the term “outsider art” flickered around the edge of my brain. Outsider art would be when Andy Warhol finds a homeless schizophrenic with a harmonica wedged up his arse and decides to install him in a gallery.
For those of you who aren’t aware of Hasil Adkins’ work, let me quote the great man himself. “I taught myself how to play and I change chords and beats whenever I think I should change. Like for instance, you hit down on your strings and count 1-2-3-4, then change to another chord. Well, I don’t play that way.” Hasil Adkins is pretty high functioning as far as this kind of artists goes. The Cramps managed to at least make some sense of his work when they covered his song “She Said”. Further down the scale, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy’s idea of a gig was to go down to his local drive-in, stand on his car and play trumpet.
So this brings us to Jon Wayne, the band and not the actor. I’m not going to kick some loony tune in the balls just because he makes music that sucks. The mentally ill deserve respect, medication and a cosy padded cell. The first thing that becomes obvious upon listening to this disc is that this is not the work of some inbred Kentucky mountain boys. This is a bunch of session musicians playing at being weird. You can practically smell the dope they were smoking. The musicianship is just a little too good for how bad they are trying to make it sound. The whacky lyrics and stroke victim delivery are all a little bit too contrived and the casual racism is unforgivable.
According to Wikipedia, Jon Wayne are alt. country. I wonder what they are an alternative to. Country music may be overly sentimental, often crass and occasionally reactionary. It does, however, have the balls to lay out what the singer feels in plain sight. Jon Wayne smoke dope until they are incapable of feeling anything, treat music as something that is beneath their lofty ideals and present this third rate crap as an alternative. I re-ask my question. An alternative to what?
Jon Wayne; a summary (1) a bunch of stoner session men from Los Angeles trying to take the piss out of redneck hillbillies (2) just plain loathsome. It baffles me why Jack White should take it upon himself to re-release this garbage. It is a bit like singling Police Academy 4 “Citizens on Parade” for an extended director’s cut and awarding it the Palme d’or at Cannes.
I said to the Barman that there is nothing is worse than musos playing at being whacky outsider artistes. He suggested that paedophilia, cannibalism and listening to the Eagles could be worse but I am not convinced. This disc is justification for the death penalty. It is the audio equivalent of having root canal work done without anaesthesia. In a million years, when all our work is dust, would you really want some alien finding this in the ruins and remembering us this way? - Bob Short
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