Album: Ray Wylie Hubbard, A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) (Bordello)

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The Independent Culture

The arresting title drolly indicates the almost Manichean worldview espoused by Ray Wylie Hubbard, grizzled veteran of the Texas singer-songwriter scene.

Like Gil Scott-Heron, he seems a good soul struggling with personal failings – in his case, presumably, the opium which "sugar-coats my blues, such an elegant decay". The title-track is but one of several treated like revivalist tent show meetings, raggedy stomps of guitar, tambourine and harmonica with his husky growl of a voice supported by the fervent chanting of the faithful. Elsewhere, his Tom Waits-ian aesthetic of primitive music is celebrated in "Pots and Pans", while the more specific character of the "Down Home Country Blues" leads him to proclaim "that Muddy Waters is as deep as William Blake". Hubbard's delight in making "one hellacious sound" is evident, nowhere more so than the primeval slide-guitar blues grind of "Tornado Ripe", a childhood reminiscence of sheltering from elemental chaos that sounded "as if God himself was belching and growling and spitting on the ground".

Download this A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C); Down Home Country Blues; Tornado Ripe; Pots and Pans