Damn, this is a fine album. Credited as “Stampfel & Weber — The Original Holy Modal Rounders”, it’s a 1981 Rounder release that’ll probably never see the light as a digital release. And that’s a crying shame.
It packs a lot of tracks into one album. All of them fun, with the off-kilterness that happens so magically when these two play together.
- You’ve got the right String Baby, but the wrong Yo-yo — as briefly featured on Laugh-In.
- My Name is Morgan but it ain’t J. P. —Steve Weber really has that parlour fingerpicking style nailed down.
- Goin’ to Memphis — Cash, murdered. Outstanding skreeky fiddle from Peter.
- Goin’ to Memphis (reprise) —a little bit of caterwauling that was too good to throw out
- Jeanine’s Dream —this is a lovely take on La Danseuse, with words by Antonia. I know that Peter’s been obsessed with this tune for decades.
- When the Iceworms nest again —supposedly traditionally Canadian.
- If You’ll be my Girl —dropped from their 1965(ish) album because it was original, this shows that S&W write some beautiful bubblegum pop.
- Lovin’ Mad Tom —Shakespeare via Antonia. Centuries old, still haunting us.
- Sea of Love — Steve’s voice is great for this sappy love song.
- Come to the Mardi Gras —as usual, Peter finds an old tune and makes it crazed.
- Philadelphia Lawyer —a Woody Guthrie tune played almost straight.
- Are You from Dixie? —even if I were, I’d deny it if faced with someone proclaiming it as dementedly as this.
- Smokey Joe’s Café —a slurfy, sloppy cover.
- Goodbye to Booze —This, along with Coldest Woman, was one of the two tracks from this album on I Make A Wish For A Potato, which got me into this whole Holy Modal Rounder mess in the first place.
- Junker’s Blues —an unapologetic heroin user’s song.
- Red Rooster —play this to clear the house. It sets the demented level up against the stops.
- Coldest Woman —a daft little island tune with nicely swung guitar by Steve.
- Dance in Slow Motion —another sweet song with Peter singing.
- Unnamed Rag —The only words on this Weber tune are “Unnamed Rag” (if you don’t count the stalwart “vo-dee-oh-dee”-ing from Peter) because he hadn’t thought of a name for it.
It must be about time for a fifth duo album from S&W; there was 15 years between this and HMR2, and Too Much Fun came 19 years after. I guess since there’s only been 14 years since that last album, I’m being a bit premature …