ROAD DOG DHARMA
Treated and Released Records
A Totally Bonkers Mix of Outtakes, Radio Interviews and Amazing Cover Versions.
It’s fair to say Reverend Freakchild is ‘left of centre’ with his music; which sort of straddles the Blues, Rock and possibly even the Folk fences with a Zappa like arrogance; and so much so that even I’ve struggled to get my head around his work.
So much so; that when I reviewed his Hillbilly Zen-Punk Blues album for No Depression I received copious hate mail from his fans!
Which brings me to his latest release, a left of Left of Centre mixture of outtakes and live tracks interspersed with snippets of radio interviews from across the US of A.
I rather like the way the album starts with someone dialling in the radio station followed by a fragment of The Reverend singing before the dial gets switched again!
This is followed by someone called Cornel on WNCD out of Youngstown Ohio;who has a voice so deep, it sounds like a stereotype DJ that turned up on Happy Days or the American Pie albums; interviewing our man.
While all of these interviews are at the least, ‘interesting’; I just love the way The Reverend tends to ignore the inane questioning and, like a politician just goes off on his own merry way to get his message across at 100 mph, whether that be an album or local live date.
While I’m on the subject; who knew that there really are American DJ’s called Wildman, The Bluesman and even Big D?
The first song on the album; Roadtrance starts like any other, then ……. well, it sparks off into half a dozen different directions all at once but based around a psychedelia-Folk riff and wanders off for over 7 minutes.
Then, not long afterwards he delivers pretty straight version of JJ Cale’s Call Me The Breeze which made my reconsider my previous thoughts on his oeuvre.
Freakchild shows what great taste he has by his choice of covers that are included and when he turns ZZ Top’s Jesus Just Left Chicago into a slow and moody Field Blues, or the straighter than straight, back to raw basics version of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ he more than makes up for the wacky interview tracks that are on offer here too.
Obviously not the easiest compilation to select a Favourite Track from; but it’s always going to be a pleasure hearing someone cover Townes’ White Freightliner Blues but to merge it with a folk version of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows; just might be the mark of a Genius (as his fans referred to him in the green ink mail); and Hippie Bluesman Blues (Alt. Country remix) is another contender; but I’m going to throw caution to the wind and select the Rocktastic All Across America as the RMHQ Favourite Song here as it’s a bit of a keeper; and shows what this Cat can do when he really puts his mind to it.
Regardless of whether I ever play this album or not ever again; I love being part of a World where The Reverend Freakchild not only exists but is adored by countless fans all over the world; and that’s exactly the world I want to live in.
Released November 15th 2019