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Back To School Blues by The Blind Dead McJones Band

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Reviewed on 6th June 2011.


Back To School Blues

By The Blind Dead McJones Band

The BDMcJBand is energized by a certain cool fierceness. And they give you plenty, not least in the generosity of servings in this EP. At 35 mins it's a length often passed off as an album by the villains of the far-distant First Vinyl Age. Or would you prefer to think of it as a good-sized cake in eight slices of differing sizes and content, even if the spoken-word start and finish are more part of the wrapping than part of the content - with the CD's poetic tailpiece as source of our beguiling cake metaphor?

There's much else to be grateful for, and you can start handing your senses over to the music in track two 'Hang On There Boys' where attention is commanded by beefhearty vocals and a prominent drum rhythm that eventually sounds surprisingly like what goes on in Patti Smith's Gloria.

Teasing blues guitar opens 'Today Was A Good Day' before boisterous solidity is back again and you begin to feel you're getting a sort of ambient heavy listening, only to realise there've been bits you wished you'd caught in full-attention mode. The experience deepens with a move into bluesy slowness as 'Tired' takes you in its somber hypnotic embrace; and you might want to stay there - but not when the powerful Afro-rhythm of 'Haunted' is beckoning, soon to be overlaid with the high standard of guitar which is a mark of the McJones act.

So how unsubtle 'Good Scratch Boogie' sounds by comparison : aha, innocent listener, you are but sponge-crumbs in the fingers of these musicians as they work through the three phases of this gruesomely-titled experiment. Then the clear call for some mellowness is answered in the capacious form of 'Back To School Blues' featuring the prominently-credited Al Bampton, and leading to a rich-textured well-accompanied and somewhat trippy stroll through the buzzy landscape of guitar solo.

After that you might feel like a minute and a half's rest followed by a poem about cake. And for better or worse, it's what you'll get.



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