CHARLIE FEATHERS – Charlie Feathers / Honky Tonk Man & New Jungle Fever [1987-90]

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Allright folks, more Charlie’s ‘Feathersbilly’ is on the way. These late 80’s recordings are pretty solid R-Billy/Country stuff, especially self titled ’91 lp, but you gotta check it out yourself. Dig!!!

”S/t Lp recorded in 1990 and produced by Ben Vaughn, features Feathers doing a number of his own truly eccentric and brilliant songs accompanied by former Sun Studios musicians guitarist Roland James, drummer James Van Eaton, and bassist Stan Kesler, and an alternate rhythm section on a few other cuts provided by bassist Terry Bailey and drummer (as well as cardboard-box percussionist) Perry York. Of the Feathers “classics” that appear here are “Pardon Me Mister,” “A Man in Love,” “A Long Time Ago,” and a rewrite of “I Can’t Remember to Forget,” dedicated to Presley, who first cut the song as “We Can’t Seem to Remember to Forget.” Other material includes rockabilly nuggets like “Fraulein,” “Mean Woman Blues,” “Uh Huh Honey,” and Stan Kesler’s true gem, “You’re Right, I’m Left, She’s Gone.” Instrumentation aside — all the playing here is expert, authentic, and full of raw immediacy — it’s Feathers’ voice that is the spark and spook of these proceedings. He is a man haunted by the past eternally, trying to make it a renewable present, and offering the truth in how forgotten it all is in his delivery (check out “Defrost Your Heart,” in which Feathers moans, growls, does the hillbilly wail, and sings a blues that is truly unearthly in that same way that Hank Williams and Roscoe Holcomb’s are). Feathers died in the late ’90s, but he leaves behind an enduring testament to his particular brilliance as a frighteningly intense singer and canny songwriter. This album is near the pinnacle of that legacy.” [Thom Jurek]

 

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“I could talk about Charlie Feathers ’til I’m blue in the face, but there is no way to explain his greatness. He is completely unique. You have to hear him to get the picture.
In the 50s, he was one of the people who invented and defined Rock’n’Roll. In the 80s, he’s still inventing and defining it. He seems to have only gotten stranger and more perverse through the years. He baby-talks, chirps, hiccups, moans, and gasps his way through a song, ’til it becomes a little separate world all it’s own.
His version of “Roll Over Beethoven” is so full of menacing weirdness, it sounds like a song you never heard before.
Charlie is a crazy magician and he knows all the tricks. But don’t take my word for it. Buy this record.” – Lux Interior

 

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”Depending on who you ask, Charlie Feathers was either one of the great stylists of rockabilly or one of the true raving lunatics of the genre, and of course the qualities which inspired these judgments were in no way mutually exclusive. While Feathers’ voice was capable of gracefully recreating all the trademark swoops, gulps and wails of classic rockabilly, he refused to be hemmed in by the conventions of the style; he could sing straight country in a manner that would make George Jones cry with envy, or he could let loose with guttural blues moaning that was positively lascivious — and he would sometimes do a bit of both while making his way through something like “Working on a Building,” as he does on this two EP’s cut in the 1980s. Both Honky Tonk Man and New Jungle Fever were obviously recorded quickly on a low budget, and the production and accompaniment on these tracks leaves a great deal to be desired, but Feathers wails like a man possessed from front to back on this collection, even if he does sound as if he may have enjoyed a few too many cocktails as he throws shouts, squeals and whoops right and left like a boxer raining blows on a target he can’t quite see. This material doesn’t show Feathers at the top of his game, but despite the reduced circumstances of his career, these tracks find him full of fire and sonically unrepentant. His full-on covers of “Honky Tonk Man,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “He’ll Have to Go” (the latter sounding like the weirdest pick-up line ever set to music) and gotta-hear-’em-to-believe-’em originals like “Jungle Fever” and “Who Da Say” were crafted by some sort of mutant visionary, and this is the work of a great lunatic stylist if there ever was such a thing.” [Mark Deming]

 

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CHARLIE FEATHERS – Jungle Fever / Uh Huh Honey [Hiccup Rockabilly Legend]

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“I’m a tip-top daddy and I’m gonna have my way
Keep away from the corners is what I got to say
With a-one hand only, get a-ready for a ride
Give me one hand loose and I’ll be satisfied”

“Charlie grew up in rural North Mississippi and was taught guitar by his friend, Junior Kimbrough, before heading off to nearby Memphis in 1950 with a view to making it in the music business. He should have been massive, being one of Sam Phillips‘ first white signing to Sun Records, writing some great songs and having (arguably) an even better ‘stage’ name than Elvis Presley, who he soon be-friended. Sadly, it was not to be, as even though he recorded regularly for Sun and other labels such as Meteor, Kay, King and more, a mix of bad luck, poor decision-making and an impatient personality all contributed to a life among the also-rans and nearly-men. The notes to this set suggest that it may also have been that, despite his instinctive and natural feel for rockabilly, his distinctive ‘hiccupy’ vocal delivery was too pure for mass consumption”

Give me a free hand baby, ’cause I wanna rock
Turn me loose and maybe I will blow my top
Give me a free hand woman, let it swing by my side
Just give me one hand loose and I’ll be satisfied
Turn loose! Oh, turn loose!”

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“I can’t hardly stand it
You’re troublin’ me
I can’t hardly stand
It just can’t be…”

His name is most frequently associated with the classics that regularly appear on the best rockabilly compilations – Tongue-Tied Jill, Everybody’s Lovin’ My Baby, Bottle To The BabyOne Hand Loose, Get With It and, of course, Can’t Hardly Stand It [made famous by Born Bad, Songs We Taught The Cramps comps.]

Jungle Fever” LP is essential collection of Charlie’s 50’s R-billy and country rock stuff and it’s a must have. “Uh Huh Honey” thought not so important comp. as ‘Fever’ brings together all of his late-’60s recordings for the Memphis-based Philwood label, along with some fascinating live TV recordings from 1978. has some real cool trax as The Wild Side Of Life, Do You Know, Rain (Where’s She at Tonight), Long Time Ago, and others. Classic uncontrolled Feathersbilly. Great rockabilly from a true legend!

“Well, it’s rain-rain-rain it keeps on falling
Upon my window pane tonight
Though our love is even colder
Still wonder where she’s at tonight…”

 

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“Well, feel the rhythm in your bones and you know how I feel
But don’t you grab me close baby, this time is for real
Get ready for some rockin’, pick ’em up and put ’em down
Give me one hand loose and I’ll be satisfied”

 

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Tip Top Daddy – The Ultimate Rockabilly God!

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