Going Nowhere Fast

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.
Side 1:

  1. You’ve got the right String Baby, but the wrong Yo-yo — as briefly featured on Laugh-In.
  2. My Name is Morgan but it ain’t J. P. —Steve Weber really has that parlour fingerpicking style nailed down.
  3. Goin’ to Memphis — Cash, murdered. Outstanding skreeky fiddle from Peter.
  4. Goin’ to Memphis (reprise) —a little bit of caterwauling that was too good to throw out
  5. 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.
  6. When the Iceworms nest again —supposedly traditionally Canadian.
  7. 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.
  8. Aeko
  9. Lovin’ Mad Tom —Shakespeare via Antonia. Centuries old, still haunting us.

Side 2:

  1. Sea of Love — Steve’s voice is great for this sappy love song.
  2. Come to the Mardi Gras —as usual, Peter finds an old tune and makes it crazed.
  3. Philadelphia Lawyer —a Woody Guthrie tune played almost straight.
  4. Are You from Dixie? —even if I were, I’d deny it if faced with someone proclaiming it as dementedly as this.
  5. Smokey Joe’s Café —a slurfy, sloppy cover.
  6. 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.
  7. Junker’s Blues —an unapologetic heroin user’s song.
  8. Red Rooster —play this to clear the house. It sets the demented level up against the stops.
  9. Coldest Woman —a daft little island tune with nicely swung guitar by Steve.
  10. Dance in Slow Motion —another sweet song with Peter singing.
  11. 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 …