JANDEK: Discography

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Early:

Late:

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Track times for Corwoods 0739 through 0760 are from the original LP’s and are often a bit different on the CD’s.

Corwood 0739

[album cover]

READY FOR THE HOUSE

(LP, 1978)

(CD reissue, 1999)

(CD re-reissue, unknown date)

(CD re-re-reissue, 2005)

(LP reissue (Jackpot), 2008)

Songs

Side 1: Naked in the Afternoon (4:43) / First You Think Your Fortune’s Lovely (8:04) / What Can I Say What Can I Sing (4:44) / Show Me the Way, O Lord (4:10); Side 2: Know Thy Self (2:31) / They Told Me About You (4:26) / Cave In On You (4:18) / They Told Me I Was a Fool (5:04) / European Jewel (incomplete) (4:43)

Lyrics

Cover

Chair beside a window. The shade is drawn. The colors are rather garish — could the photo have been tinted after the fact? A paperback book is leaning against the shade, and there are two more books on a table. The book in the window has been identified as a Penguin edition of the complete plays of Christopher Marlowe. (More recent editions of the same book use the same picture of Marlowe, but with a different design.)

Editions

The original LP was credited to “The Units”. The CD reissues are credited to Jandek, a change Forced Exposure has called “an epic travesty in the minds of a few hardliners.” A note from Corwood accompanying the 2005 edition said “0739 remaster, all other editions obsolete... We really believe it is much improved without compromise... Note: track 3 second 124, the word ‘do’ was recaptured from the vinyl and inserted. Somehow it got transposed to the word ‘feel’ in one of the two previous CD masters.’ I only have copies of the first and third CD editions, so I don’t know how the second edition differs from the others, but the third edition can be identified by the bar code on the back, the longer track times (4:51, 8:10, and so on), and the less intense colors on the front. The 2008 vinyl reissue on Jackpot Records is from the same digital master as the 2005 edition.

Data

If anyone knows of a numerological justification for starting the Corwood catalog numbers with 0739, please let me know. Note that the date is a full three years before his second LP. In the Trubee interview, Jandek says that 1000 copies of the LP were pressed. “European Jewel” is the first of Jandek’s five recorded versions of the same song. The version here is played on electric guitar (the rest of the album is acoustic). “You think you’re cool/ A European jewel...”

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 1999. “There were plenty of significant events in 1978, (“You’re The One That I Want” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton John was quite a popular track, for example), and one of the most low-key yet significant events was the debut LP release on the Corwood Industries label out of Houston, TX. Mysteriously enough it came out under the name “The Units”, but it was obviously a singular vision and not a band. That individual would come to be more commonly known as Jandek, and a total of 28 albums have been issued on Corwood to date. In 1978 however, there was no telling what was to come. Ready For The House was a mostly acoustic guitar/vocal record, of ethereal, shambling post-blues form. It set the stage for one the most individualistic and fascinating bodies of work in contemporary music. The original LP was casually issued in a beautiful color sleeve, featuring a mundane but striking image of a living room chair & table (replicated with almost pop-art brilliance on this CD). No other information was ever offered. As it remains today. Ready For The House sounded like no other record, and it’s doubtful that more than a handful of copies were sold at the time (promotional copies sent to out radio stations and reviewers were more voluminous). A second Jandek album wouldn’t come out till 1981. By the mid-80s a wealth of documentation had occurred and the early Corwood albums became notoriously unavailable just as people were finally getting up the gumption to consider buying them. This record has been “in demand” for over a decade now and Corwood has finally caved in and reissued it proper. Find out what you’ve been missing for the last 21 years!”
  • Phil Milstein, Op issue L. “Sterling Smith has created an album that is homemade in every way, and it is a joy to listen to... The Units are completely enveloped in their own musical world. It shows in Smith’s thin, strained voice, in his unusual guitar style, and in his oblique, personal lyrics. This enraptured quality is one of the strongest points of the album, and one The Units share with great primitives like 1/2 Japanese, The Shaggs, and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Here it servers as a deterrent as well as a benefit. Unlike the others mentioned, Smith’s LP just doesn’t communicate itself very effectively. We can hear the wistfulness, the lostness, the loneliness, the anger and the joy Smith fills his songs with, but we feel it in terms of sympathy, not empathy. We feel for him, not with him... The Units have come up with an original musical language. Because of this, the songs sound very similar to each other at first, but after a while they each begin to prove themselves as wholly autonomous compositions. The guitar-playing is slow, only faintly melodic, alternately rich and tinny (sometimes both at once); occasionally Smith will slam the strings in anger or in hurt or in something, and the playing is so engrossing that these abrasive moments are enough to knock the listener on her butt!... Another endearing characteristic of Ready for the House is its overwhelming amateurness. The rough-edged crudity of each touch seems almost deliberate, but it carries a sweet beauty that a more polished production would probably have softened... Another highlight is the cover itself. Jad Fairs calls it ‘one of the best covers I’ve ever seen, and I agree... it really is gorgeous... Any one of us could have made this record, and as Lester Bangs often argued, that’s half the point right there. Bring the means of production to ‘the people,’ and they will out-create the moneyfolks almost every time.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “The stark, painfully exposed, untuned-acoustic blues/folk that once made for such a richly uncomfortable listening experience now sounds focused and brilliant. it’s not that the music is any less dark, or the technique any more refined than it was 22 years ago; it’s just that the world has moved closer to Jandek’s reality. The anxious beauty of isolation and doubt.”
  • Brogden, Garry. Vinyl Absolution #20 (October 2002) (website). “I like to play Ready For The House just as the light is fading on the day: as it creepily gets darker, Jandek is the perfect accompaniment for making you feel that, yep, life really isn’t worth living. It’s not necessarily what he says, it’s the way he says it... The tension is palpable, like there’s a vampire in the room and you just know that you’re on the menu... But, there’s something strangely life affirming about the whole thing. That someone like this, with the ability to track down those dark corners of the brain can somehow get his art (or artifice) out there.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “The final song on the album... sounds a bit like a lost Velvet Underground demo, exhibiting a rare outside influence on his isolated world.”
  • Daniel Marks, web review (full review). “Total isolation... is one of the themes of Ready for the House... particularly in the second track, ‘First You Think Your Fortune’s Lovely’. The song is about someone who does not wish be a part of the world, either because he feels he cannot, or because the world isn’t letting him... The vocals are sung and spoken. Some songs almost have a vocal melody, particularly the first two and the last tracks, but he never approaches a real ‘song’ in any definition we’re familiar with. Oddly, he always makes sure it rhymes, in a rare show of artistic effort... The single string plucking is used in a very creepy way on ‘They Told Me About You’. Jandek tunes his guitar and one chord not in a musical way, but more as an ambience. The sound of the one chord fits the feelings of sadness and isolation expressed in the lyrics... Jandek uses [the guitar] as a second voice, groaning its one, mournful ‘word’ over and over. One rule though: never touch the fretboard... One of the best of the typically boring Early Period.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “If you can hack this track [‘Naked in the Afternoon’] with no problem, you can pretty much well handle 90% of the man's voluminous catalogue. The sonic trademarks are there: the detuned at times death rattle acoustic guitar, the reverby haunted whiny voice, the banal, abstracted and often poetic lyrics... pretty much a homebrewed white boy-blues album, taking its chops (either purposefully or accidentally) from the Delta Blues via suburban Houston. In fact it's Jandek's inability to play the blues well that makes it so fucking 'authentically' Blues-like, in a sort of John Lee Hooker droney sort of way. Album closer ‘European Jewel’ has Jandek plug in an electric guitar and prove outright that he can play that lazy-hazy Lou Reed style as good as the best of ’em...”

Other commentary

  • Irwin Chusid, WHRB interview, 2003. “I was given a copy of Ready for the House in 1978, I think... I was really stunned by it... I was stunned at the sheer amusicality or unmusicality or nonmusicality, the sheer emptiness of it. This was an album that started nowhere, went nowhere, and ended up nowhere... It was really like hearing a posthumous recording, a recording that was made after they had died... I had never heard anything that was so naked.”

Corwood 0740

[album cover]

SIX AND SIX

(LP, 1981)

(CD reissue, 2000)

(CD re-reissue, 2005)

Songs

Side 1: Feathered Drums (3:27) / Point Judith (4:32) / I Knew You Would Leave (10:06) / Can I See Your Clock (2:29); Side 2: Wild Strawberries (6:00) / Forgive Me (3:58) / Hilltop Serenade (Part 1, 3:50; Part 2, 1:23) / You’re the Best One (2:52) / Delinquent Words (3:43)

Lyrics

Cover

Black and white head-and-shoulders shot of Jandek in front of a curtain, staring sullenly at the camera. There is some damage to the photo if you look closely, as if it had stuck to the photo above it in a stack, or as if someone had had it in their wallet. It could be a photo booth photo. Jandek appears to be a young adult in this photo — I think of it as the “badass rock’n’roll Jandek” photo, since he’s wearing a leather jacket over a sort of low necked T-shirt and has a chain around his neck (crooked: you can see the clasp on the side of his neck). He even looks unshaven, though it could just as easily be an effect of the lighting. A far cry both from the adolescent Jandeks and the mature, adult Jandeks who populate the other covers.

Editions

This CD went out of print briefly, I think only for a month or two, before being re-reissued in April 2005. The front cover on the reissue is the same, but the type on the back and on the disc itself was redone and a bar code added. Most track times on the new edition are a bit longer because silences were added to the start and/or end of the tracks. One track, “I Knew You Would Leave”, was apparently remastered, since the old version has more tape hiss, and the new version is missing a few seconds of guitar playing after Jandek sings “Sometimes I know it not” but before he sings “As the air, no air is still”. (I’m not certain there aren’t other alterations.)

Data

Three year gap between the first two LP’s — Jandek’s lost years.

Comments

Musically, this is the most catatonic and monochromatic Jandek LP, the most sullen and withdrawn. The songs drift past one by one like ships in the fog, propelled by an acoustic guitarist working slow, steady variations on the same handful of cracked notes. Even more than the first LP, this is the distilled essence of Jandek, the baseline from which the rest of his music develops. Though the songs here are only minimally differentiated musically, the lyrics are uncommonly vivid, poetic, and far-ranging. “Oh universe!” Jandek sings “on a journey to the stars”, but his spaceship’s full of all kinds of junk from Earth: spiders, a phonograph, some mica, a clown suit, the Tree of Knowledge. Several songs are sea-themed. On many later albums Jandek will be floating down a river; these are his thoughts once he’s reached the ocean. It’s low tide.

Review excerpts

  • Michael Huntsberger, Op issue M. “It is a sweltering afternoon in Texas. In a tiny bedroom, all windows curtained against the sun, sits a man, or a boy. He is plain, blond-haired, looks like an extra from a B Sci-Fi thriller. He holds a Sears guitar he was given as a child. The guitar has never been tuned — it may only have five strings. It is connected to a cheap amp. He plucks the strings, sometimes together, sometimes singly, and sings into an old cheap microphone. With a Dylan-like inflection, he pours the lyrics from his soul while plucking the guitar... The recording is made on an old Wollensak reel-to-reel with broken meters and no volume knob. He records 12 songs and presses them into a record... it is so deeply personal as to be profound.”
  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2000. “The cover features a crude black & white photobooth-style portrait of the man we’ve come to assume as the singer, depicted at his most youthful, ready to accompany the power & glory of the Jandekian muse. Upon it’s release Six And Six defined Jandek as a significant album artist (no mere one-shot), featuring some of his most mesmerizing variations of trance-blues, especially the 10-minute centerpiece, “I Knew You Would Leave”. Crucial, all round.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “The approach is basically the same [as on Ready for the House] — free pick’n’strum acoustic guitar and depressed vocals — although he adds echo (natural?) to create an even denser sense of mental murk.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “A raw glimpse into the hermetic soul of Jandek through his ultra-minimal, angular trance-blues soaked with lots of spring reverb and sprinkled with his wavering vocal neuroses.”
  • Daniel Marks, web review (full review). “This is one creepy record... He seems at his most desperate and lonely on this album, but he still has enough strength to write some good songs. ‘Point Judith’ is a longing reminiscence for what sounds like an old childhood summer retreat. When Jandek sings ‘You can hear the boats sailing’, you can almost feel the ghostliness of this dead resort town... On side two, Jandeks drags us kicking and screaming into his echo-drenched nightmare, and the album becomes very listless and incredibly unlistenable.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “ Jandek totally embraces the minimalist ‘Blues’ thing on Six and Six, from the Robert Johnson homage on the album cover to the springy/droney guitar plucks, but it’s his singing on this one that really gets you. Jandek talks/raps into a stoned, thousand yard-stare type reverb soaked drone, that could sound like Jim Morrison if he drank and smoked and took a little bit less acid, or Dylan if he took more. Jandek’s vocal performance on ‘Point Judith’ is the total business, he goes for a 10-minute work-out on ‘I Knew You Would Leave’, and ‘Delinquent Words’ is all psychotic menace, the sonic equivalent of Martin Sheen in Badlands.”

Corwood 0741

[album cover]

LATER ON

(LP, 1981)

(CD reissue, 2000)

Songs

Side 1: Your Condition (5:16) / What Did I Hear (4:37) / Just Whisper (3:46) / Oh Jenny (3:40) / Until Then (2:20); Side 2: So Fly, Max (2:51) / The Janitor (3:31) / Don’t Know If I Care (2:30) / John Came (1:11) / Jessica (2:29) / Jackson’s Gone Down the Mississippi (2:37) / The Second End (3:17)

Lyrics

Data

“Jackson’s Gone Down the Mississippi” is one of Jandek’s many references to going “down a river”. “The Janitor” has a sequel on The Living End called “Janitor’s Dead”.

Review excerpts

  • Billy Kiely, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2000. “This record, like Jandek’s first (Ready for the House), is comprised of not just basically one chord throughout, but as far as I can tell he barely even touches the fret board of his guitar, using his instrument more for atmosphere and percussion than anything like a ‘song’. The usual lyrical motifs of the blues are all over the place, including women, roads, death, and even janitors, which in my tweaked view of the universe hearkens back to Howlin’ Wolf’s paean to a custodian on his last record ca. 1972 (‘Watergate Blues’), and much like the Loren Mazzacane Connors Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations Vols 1–9 1979–1980 box set reissue on Ecstatic Yod, this is proof that something that might be called the blues can be non-formulaic, just undiluted expression, and actually just a skeleton on which to drape a very whacked universe of your very own.”
  • John Foster, Op issue N. “Personal songs... by... a hopeless amateur whose limited, rather unique guitar-playing tends to meld with his whispery vocals, taking on a trancelike ambience. For sheer tunelessness only Kenneth Higney’s Attic Demonstration comes to mind... you really have to force yourself to concentrate on it.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “Some highlights: “Your Condition” is like Roky Erickson trying to remember a dylan song during a rest-hospital breakdown; the accusatory “What Did I Hear” blues with its shattered lyrics (“I guess there’s no such thing as today/ or any day”); rockin’ on “Just Whisper” like a detuned Lou Reed playing “I’m Waiting For the Man” in his sleep; the finger-pluckin’ “Until Then,” rough personal emotional, ripped straight from the heart of pre-WWII country blues; Jandek feeling out the lyrics in a jazz-like way on “So Fly, Max”; pleading for understanding from a doubtful God on “Don’t Know If I Care” and finding a surprisingly pleasant drone for a moment (but only a moment).”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “Later On is his second [sic] album of lithium-soaked folk; a pseudo-jangle on the guitar barely carrying a tune and daydreaming poetry crooned with a creepier voice-crack than Will Oldham could ever conjur. The mysteries of Jandek, personal and musical, may never be fully revealed, but his peculiar genius is highly recommended none the less.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Jandek start to experiment with his ‘sound’... The album finds Jandek shifting moods in bi-polar frequency, and also finds him starting to attack the guitar rather than play. You can actually hear some of the tracks start to fall apart, offering some sweet respite with the beautiful ‘Jessica’ and ‘Jackson’s Gone Down the Mississippi’, only to fuck it all up with closer ‘The Second End’ that features the plunky, grating sound that will become more prevalent later in Jandek’s ‘career.’”

Corwood 0742

[album cover]

CHAIR BESIDE A WINDOW

(LP, 1982)

(CD reissue, 2000)

(CD re-reissue, 2005)

Songs

Side 1: Down in a Mirror (4:25) / European Jewel (4:24) / Unconditional Authority (3:29) / Poor Boy (2:30) / You Think You Know How To Score (2:16) / Nancy Sings (2:43); Side 2: No Break (3:18) / Mostly All From You (2:52) / Blue Blister (2:40) / The Times (3:10) / Love, Love (4:07) / The First End (4:24)

Lyrics

Cover

Grainy black and white shot of a morose young Jandek, the youngest version of him to be found on any of the covers. It’s probably so grainy because it’s just a small, zoomed-in-on portion of a larger picture, perhaps of a group.

Editions

This CD was re-reissued in July 2005. A note from Corwood accompanying the new edition said “0742 remastered, previous editions are now obsolete.” A bar code was added on the back and the track times are now 9 to 13 seconds longer due to silence added to the start and end of each track. (I’m not certain there aren’t other alterations.)

Data

“European Jewel” reappears. “Nancy Sings” is the first appearance by an outside vocalist on a Jandek record. Another woman singer turns up on the next track, “No Break”. As Jandek plays guitar she exclaims jokingly, “You’re a jerk! You’re nuts!” In a 1982 letter to Irwin Chusid, Corwood says the singer on this track is Nancy’s sister Pat. We’ll hear her again later on Somebody in the Snow.

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2000. “Notable for the track “Nancy Sings” which features the first appearance by an outside vocalist on a Jandek record — an absolutely riveting acoustic gospel-blues tinged track.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “The echo-drenched journey into Jandek’s world begins with “Down in a Mirror”, the artist delicately plucking his free-tuned guitar and tappin’ shoes on the floor ’neath him. And then electricity! Jandek’s first electric-guitar piece, “European Jewel,” comes screamin’ in like Elmore James having a seizure. Pounding drums and bass enter for a frenzied attack not too far from the same thing Sonic Youth was doing in NYC at the same time. Back to acoustic guitar for “Unconditional Authority,” a depressed semi-boogie, and near perfect blend of solo Syd Barrett and John Lee Hooker at his loneliest. “Poor Boy” comes mighty close to early blues in lyric and open-strum structure, with none of the self-conscious posturing of most white “bluesmen”. “You Think You Know How to Score” is harmonica-holder Dylan with the Holy Modal Rounders shootin’ speed in his butt: scary but hard not to watch and chuckle as head collides with concrete. “Nancy Sings” introduces the first of Jandek’s usually anonymous female vocal collaborators — and it’s a fragile, beautiful thing. Back to electric for “No Break”, with nancy on vocals, and a drummer (Nancy?) rattling about. This fragmented non-song could be a mellow-mood Harry Pussy jam from a decade later... This ’un’s a classic Jandek album — highly recommended.”
  • Daniel Marks, web review (full review). “This my favorite album of Jandek’s early period, combining just the right sense of depression, mysteriousness, and spirituality that makes Jandek’s work in this time so intriguing... His guitar tuning has changed since Ready but it still comes nowhere near standard, or even any of the typical aberrant tunings, like E or D... The second track, ‘European Jewel’, sends a blast of electric into your ears... Jandek and his band stumble through a screaming version of the familiar ‘European Jewel’ riff before he sings the last part of the song, starting with the verse he never completed... [then] the band goes out in full improv mode for another three minutes... Bassist John even has a solo, walking up the fretboard in almost perfect time... Jandek brings us his most beautiful song on track six, appropriately titled ‘Nancy Sings’. While he plucks slowly one note at a time on guitar, angel-voiced Nancy sings poetic lyrics about nature... Evidently from track nine, ‘Blue Blister’, Jandek is a smoker, which explain why his voice gets so much heavier as time goes on (check out one of the spoken word albums to see what I mean). On track eleven, ‘Love, Love’, agent Smith shares with us some wisdom he’s gained from his travel... I swear my minister gave the same sermon once.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “The album kicks off with another classic haunted track... in which you can hear some weird almost freeform electronic tape hiss (?!) and Jandek's foot stomp, that also seems to have been accidentally fractalized into something greater than its parts by shitty technology. Then everything fucking EXPLODES and IMPLODES in Dylan-Live-1966-bootleg-proportions on ‘European Jewel’, featuring the funniest Rick Danko-meets-Mingus bass impersonation ever put onto tape! Jandek's guitar playing is getting choppier and more manic on this record until the freak-folk classic ‘Nancy Sings’ comes out of fucking nowhere for no reason causing time to momentarily stop — amazing what a woman's touch can do! The rest of the album noodles around aimlessly for a bit, but is no less ‘exploratory’, with some nice, frustrated steel-string buzz/drone on trax like ‘Blue Blister’ (speaks for itself really). It's interesting to note that despite the record being the most 'fractured' of his albums so far, Jandek's tapping foot is heard on nearly all tracks, proving there is some method to the meshigarse!”

Corwood 0743

[album cover]

LIVING IN A MOON SO BLUE

(LP, 1982)

(CD reissue, 2000)

Songs

Side 1: Gretchen (2:47) / One Step Ahead (2:06) / Supression (2:06) / Strange Phenomenon (3:09) / You Can Stop Now (2:20) / Comedy (1:49) / Sailors (1:47) / Bludgeon (1:50) / All in an Apple Orchard (2:37); Side 2: She Fell Down (3:30) / Professional (2:25) / Anticipation (2:43) / Alexandria Knows (2:34) / Quite Nonchalant (2:16) / Relief of the Night (3:18) / Crime Pays (3:00)

Lyrics

Data

The date does not actually appear anywhere either on the cover or on the record itself. The misspelling of “suppression” is Corwood’s not mine.

Comments

Another all acoustic LP, but an uncommonly emphatic, even aggressive one — Jandek really digs in on the vocals and guitar, sounding downright sardonic on songs like “You Can Stop Now” and “Professional”, with lyrics to match. Sometimes he plucks the strings so hard that the notes begin buzzy and bend in pitch. But there are also some very delicate songs like “All in an Apple Orchard”.

Review excerpts

  • John DeAngelis, Op issue S. “Jandek plays acoustic guitar — seemingly without any formal chordal knowledge — and sings in a drifty, sometimes eerie voice that suggests he listened to a lot of obscure psychedelic music, and maybe some Doors and acoustic Neil Young, too. Over the course of a three-minute song, not a lot of lyrical or musical development takes place; you might find this hard to sit through...”
  • Christopher Stigliano, Op issue T, pg. 71. “Yet again... another LP of atonal guitar with moaning vocals that remind me of the delta blues played by a member of the Godz... Totally incomprehensible and grating on the nerves... Who says that art has to be pretty anyway?”
  • Billy Kiely, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2000. “The title for this one actually comes from a lyric from his track ‘Can I See Your Clock’ from his second LP Six And Six, and so one can already see The Artist creating an oeuvre filled with allusions, hints, motifs that really don’t point at anything in particular. Herein lies one of Jandek’s peculiar charms: his songs’ resilience. We find him in a more ‘aggressive’ mode here — singing and playing here like he really ‘means it’; therein lies another charm: we are never really sure what he means. All in all, Living in a Moon So Blue is one of his best, the presentation and approach seemingly from a different time altogether, how about some grayish Eastern Bloc country, ca. 1962?”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “The mood is kinda upbeat, and the playing is particularly assertive (still “untuned” and moving freely, though). There are songs about “Gretchen” and “Alexandria Knows” (with harmonica that starts like a squealing synth)... One of the best Jandek albums.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “This is where Jandek's stuff gets really ‘difficult’ and damaged... Lots of pissed-off down strokes, tracks that build into blister-inducing dirges and just some seriously fucked up mess all around. The album feels like a series of sketches that Jandek just bashed out quite quickly...”

Corwood 0744

[album cover]

STARING AT THE CELLOPHANE

(LP, 1982)

(CD reissue, 2000)

Songs

Side 1: Michael (2:57) / This is For You (3:10) / Riddles Riddling Me (2:44) / Basic Themes (2:50) / I See Lights (2:34) / Rather Be Blind (1:53) / Away (2:18) / Don’t Get Too Upset (2:35); Side 2: A Letter (2:23) / Nevermore (3:01) / Sand I (2:30) / Nepoleon [sic] in Russia (3:05) / Split to the East (2:55) / Number 14 (2:43) / Blood and Bone (3:17)

Lyrics

Data

The date does not appear on the back cover as on most LP’s, only on the label on side 1 of the record. The “I” in “Sand I” is handwritten rather than typeset on both the back cover and the label.

Review excerpts

  • Calvin Johnson, Op issue U, pg 60. “...ghost town music... Spooky, personal, honest, it fills the room, sets the moods. I return to Jandek, feel compelled to place Staring at the Cellophane or Six and Six on the turntable...”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “The focus here is on a very singular mid-tempo acoustic-guitar sound, with special attention to finger pickin’. The instrumental “This Is For You” and semi-instrumental “Basic Themes” (just a bit of wordless vocalizing at the end) stand out, and even most of the other pieces seem more concerned with the guitar than Jandek’s usual depressed lyrical statements. The big exceptions are the muted hard-strum violence of “Sound I”, which is mostly instrumental but quite different from the melancholy plucked-string approach; and a weird history lesson called “Nepoleon in Russia” [sic].”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “The cover of Jandek’s sixth album... is nearly identical to Living In A Moon So Blue. Furthermore, the open chord guitar pick & strum barely structuring the vocal wisp and waver from Jandek is nearly indistinguishable on these two albums. It may be a bold question to ask, but is the content from Jandek’s faded photographs to be seen as indicative of what can be found inside?”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “The downward spiral continues... Maybe Jandek was deconstructing his work in order to take his next artistic step...”

Corwood 0745

[album cover]

YOUR TURN TO FALL

(LP, 1983)

(CD reissue, 2001)

Songs

Side 1: Liquids Flow to the Sea (4:14) / Elementary Talk (2:24) / John Plays Drums (2:28) / No Time (2:00) / You Don’t Have to Entertain Me (1:53) / Decree (1:51) / New String (2:18) / Echo (2:43); Side 2: Centaur Train (2:26) / Dance of Death (2:22) / If Your Fortune Fails You (2:58) / I’ll Come Back (2:52) / About Today (2:08) / Such a Thrill (1:35) / Didn’t Have to Cry (2:15) / They Knew My Game (3:12)

Lyrics

Cover

A desk with a guitar case next to it. First color photo since the first LP.

Data

Title of “Liquids Flow to the Sea” reiterates river theme. “John Plays Drums” is the first appearance of an outside instrumentalist on a Jandek record; it’s another version, with Jandek on vocals, of the song previously recorded as “Nancy Sings”.

Review excerpts

  • GK, Op issue X. “He continues to moan like a modern Robert Johnson type... A dark, suicidal void.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “‘Typical’ all-acoustic early-80s Jandek, which means it was produced in the cold-sun heat of a state knowable only to the artist himself. Some highlights: the hard-picked philosophy of “Elementary Talk”; drummer John pounding freely on “John Plays Drums” with Jandek strumming violently and shouting to be heard (he makes it); the droney psych-folk on “Dance of Death”... “If Your Fortune Fails You” full of Dylan-pathos; the claustrophobic closer, “They Knew My Game,” with distorted mouth-on-mic vocals and what sounds like a dying music box in the background.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “While Your Turn To Fall is not as good as Blue Corpse or Ready For the House it stands as one of the stronger, more musical outings for one of the great outsider musicians this world has gotten the chance to hear.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “[The] desk, guitar case and couch... fit in PERFECTLY with Jandek's suburban-blues aesthetic... I can only take about 20 seconds of the retarded, over-loud, un-rhythmic drumming on [‘John Plays Drums’]... ‘Dance of Death’ features a really nice vocal performance. When Jandek sings well, he's pretty darn good in an Alan Vega echoey sort of way.”

Corwood 0746

[album cover]

THE ROCKS CRUMBLE

(LP, 1983)

(CD reissue, 2001)

Lyrics

Songs

Side 1: Faceless (2:47) / Birthday (2:45) / European Jewel 613 (5:00) / European Jewel II (3:36) / European Jewel 501 (5:02); Side 2: Message to the Clerk (Part 1) (2:59) / Message to the Clerk (Part 2) (4:37) / Branded on a Telephone (3:32) / Breathtaker (4:27) / Lonesome Company (2:53) / Same Road (2:53)

Data

Jandek goes electric! Contains three eccentrically numbered (613, II, 501) versions of “European Jewel” and two versions of the rock anthem “Message to the Clerk” (refrain: “Take a message to the clerk/ Tell him not to work”). “Birthday” is a new version of the same song previously recorded as “Nancy Sings” and “John Plays Drums”.

Review excerpts

  • Ira Hankin, Op issue W (May/June 1984). “There is a change of direction on Jandek’s eighth and latest album. The heart-splitting inspiration is still ripe in every song; the tasteful but non-musical acoustic guitar still present, although now over half the songs also contain hard-hitting non-rhythmic drumming. Also on a few of the songs Jandek plays electric guitar... With all the racket of the smashing drums and chordless electric guitar work it is even harder to understand the vocals...”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “Regardless of the factuality of who John the drummer is, he is prominently featured on The Rocks Crumble with a plodding arrhythmic stumble across the drum kit. Jandek’s guitar strum is an agitated jangle that meanders near blues based chords, but he breaks up all the note patterns to keep them from achieving big blues melodies. Thus Jandek’s guitar with all of its quick tempo and deconstructed melodies create an anxious haze of half-remembered songs and phrases.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “You could call this Jandek's ‘covers album’, as half of the tracks on this are covers of his previous work. It's interesting to note that a lot of his recordings during the experimental ‘Brown period’ seem to have been made at different times, so you get quite extreme stylistic and performance jumps from track... ‘Rock’ seems to be the operative word on this rec, and Jandek writes his closest thing to an anthem, ‘Message to the Clerk’... Remember this is ‘rock’ on Jandek's terms, not yours or mine or anyone else on the planet for that matter.”

Corwood 0747

[album cover]

INTERSTELLAR DISCUSSION

(LP, 1984)

(CD reissue, 2001)

(CD re-reissue, 2006)

Songs

Side 1: Starless (2:16) / Hey (3:13) / Why Did I Change a Word in the Last Song (3:05) / Waltz in Two-Fourths Time (3:01) / Call You the Sun (3:18) / I Ain’t Got None (3:18) / The Spirit (2:25); Side 2: Rifle in the Closet (3:52) / Sung (1:33) / Ha Ha (2:15) / Customary (2:54) / May 7, 9:15 A.M. (2:54) / Situations (2:31) / Couldn’t Be a Reader (2:25) / Kick (4:00)

Lyrics

Editions

The CD was re-reissued in May 2006. A note from Corwood accompanying the new edition said “0747 remastered 2006, all previous editions obsolete”. A bar code was added on the back and the track times are now 9 to 13 seconds longer due to added silence at the start and end of each track. (I’m not certain there aren’t other alterations.)

Data

Mostly electric. Jandek really cuts loose vocally on “I Ain’t Got None” (he is quite adamant about not having any whatsoever). “Hey” has two overdubbed {???} vocal tracks (both Jandek, I think) and the title is also the lyrics (like the Butthole Surfers song of the same name — it must be in the air in Texas). The name of the next song after “Hey” is “Why Did I Change a Word in the Last Song”. The lyrics of “Rifle in the Closet” have nothing to do with the title until the very end of the song, which runs, “‘The Rifle in the Closet’ is just the name of this song.” There is a phone number in this same song: “The theater’s been dripping/ The movie’s 3-D/ There’s two rides to Texas/ 547-3668/ Hey John...” “Kick” is about a junkie and is played all on one guitar string (well, maybe two a little towards the end), and mostly just the same note on that string. (Compare the beginning of the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin”.)

Review excerpts

  • Pennie Stasick, Op issue Y, pg. 74. “I loved the way you could almost hear the songs oozing through the needle and out of the speakers onto the floor... glorious lo-fi tribalism (a one-person tribe, at that)... May he never tune his guitar.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “Jandek and the drummer ‘John’ (which of course could just be Jandek) are making a huge freeform mess of spastically hammered percussion, overblown harmonica solos, and a Jandek who is at the most hyperactive pole of the manic-depressive spectrum. The album is a collection of almost tribal, but mostly undefined freak-outs that are much more on par with The No Neck Blues Band than his signature of pained strum and whine. Pretty weird even for Jandek’s standards.”
  • Brogden, Garry. Vinyl Absolution #20 (October 2002) (website). “Jandek sounds like he’s locked in a cellar with some musical instruments and he’s pissed off about it... There’s ‘drums’ of a sort, though a bit like Mo Tucker, they don’t so much keep the beat as corral it into a corner and whack it over the head with a lead pipe; it’s a bored three year old with a wooden spoon and a tumble dryer. His [guitar] playing — even over all these years — stubbornly refuses to improve... every so often, you need to be reminded of the depths of the human psyche, and listening to this racket affirms that.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Party starts off with Jandek in primal-energy mode, replete with oonga-boonga drums, his choppy electric guitar and howls — it almost sounds like Bo Diddley. The first half of the album features more of a ‘band’ set-up than those preceding... [and] has a very manic, ferocious, free-form, electrified style... Then, from ‘The Spirit’ the mood changes back to Jandek's trademark ghostly solo style.”

Corwood 0748

[album cover]

NINE-THIRTY

(LP, 1985)

(CD reissue, 2001)

Songs

Side 1: Tell Me When (2:12) / Left the Beach Last Sunday (2:17) / Bells and Voices (2:30) / Faye (2:54) / Wrong Time (2:23) / Voices in the Dark (1:56) / Green Dreams (2:10) / Blind Cat (2:52); Side 2: Georgia East (2:47) / May 3 (2:47) / Nine-Thirty (2:42) / This is a Death Dream (5:04) / Tumblings (2:36) / You Didn’t Lie (2:04) / Oh Jenny (2:07)

Lyrics

Data

“Oh Jenny” from Later On is reprised. A series of songs on side two forms a sort of travelogue of a trip Jandek took through the American Southeast.

Review excerpts

  • Richie Unterberger, OPtion issue D2, pg. ???. “...with that trademark out-of-tune guitar that owes equal debts to Texas blues and the background music you hear in a lot of Asian restaurants... his phrasing is better than ever... I also dug the lyrical swipes from Jimmy Reed’s ‘Honest I Do’ in ‘Faye’... Even us fans concede that the same out-of-tune chord he uses 90% of the time gets a little wearing.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “After the raucous squalor of Interstellar Discussion, [this] is certainly his come-down record. It’s always difficult to tell how much of the Jandek oeuvre is the result of a psychological problem and how much is consciously constructed aesthetics. So in saying that this is a come-down record could be the result of either or both. Jandek’s voice is hushed, his guitar plucks quieter, and the drums untouched.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Jandek returns to his lazy-solo-acoustic blues style... though he might have been listening to more Dylan stuff around this time (or Tom Petty as he said in his legendary interview from around this time). ‘Voices in the Dark’ and ‘This Is a Death Dream’ are two of his most bone-chilling, psychologically frightening tracks. Album closer ‘Oh Jenny’ is more sorrowful, suburban blues that ends abruptly like a Monte Hellman movie.”

Corwood 0749

[album cover]

FOREIGN KEYS

(LP, 1985)

(CD reissue, 2002)

Songs

Side 1: Spanish in Me (5:35) / Lost Cause (4:31) / Caper (5:40) / Uncle Steve (2:28) / Don’t Be So Mean (2:08) / Coming Quiet (2:22); Side 2: Needs No Sun (3:11) / Oh No (2:35) / Some of Your Peace (2:35) / Put It Away (4:25) / Ballad of Robert (3:50) / River to Madrid (4:50)

Lyrics

Cover

Jandek enters what seems to be the side door of a white house. His Oxford shirt is untucked. The photo’s blurry and it’s hard to tell how old he is or what expression is on his face. There’s a window on either side of the door. Both are open; looks like summer. Also, there’s a profusion of plants at the bottom of the photo, the sort of plants that are allowed to run wild in the space between two houses). There’s clearly a curtain drawn in the right window (can’t tell about the left one, Jandek’s standing in front of it). There are some interesting unidentifiable shapes in this one: something hanging by the door (maybe a small windchime or set of bells?), and something, possibly a small ladder, leaning against the house behind Jandek.

Data

“Spanish in Me” and “River to Madrid” reflect Jandek’s Spanish theme (both) and river theme (the latter).

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2002. “More singing from “Nancy” and beautiful atmosphere permeates all over the place.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “Here, Jandek has figured out a couple of standard blues progressions, but it’s rare to find him actually following any of them. His guitar playing remains an angular proposition, manically stabbing at notes then plaintively bending them. The percussion likewise is an erratic skitter across his drum kit, occasionally keeping time, but usually complementing the guitar splutter and his emotionally cracked voice. “Nancy”... takes up vocal duties on a couple tracks, with her comparatively commanding Patsy Cline / Tammy Wynette voice over Jandek’s instrumentation.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “‘Coming Quiet’ finds Jandek trying to do some sort of surf/noir instrumental, before losing patience and making the whole thing fall into a frustrated heap. Guest vocalist Nancy returns with her female touch. She sounds more ‘assertive’ or angry on this album... ‘Ballad of Robert’ is one of the most unglamorous, accurate, and realistic odes to serious mental illness ever committed to record...”

Corwood 0750

[album cover]

TELEGRAPH MELTS

(LP, 1986)

(CD reissue, 2002)

Songs

Side 1: You (1:33) / One the Planes (2:43) / Go to Bed (2:44) / Ace of Diamonds (4:45) / Twenty-Four (5:07) / No Slow Ones (3:16) / Telegraph Melts (4:10); Side 2: Governor Rhodes (5:17) / Star Up in the Sky (3:29) / You Painted Your Teeth (2:55) / Mothers Day Card (2:02) / The Fly (3:35) / House Up On the Hill (2:14)

Lyrics

Cover

Jandek, Nature Boy. He crouches shirtless in a vegetable garden behind a house that’s mostly obscured by a profusion of tree foliage. He’s got one hand under his chin as if contemplating something profound, or perhaps just trying to figure out what to do about the bugs eating his lettuce. Near the house two metal garbage cans and a few stairs are visible. The short sections of decorative white fence along the side of the garden are charming.

Data

In “You Painted Your Teeth”, Jandek frenziedly harangues an unknown second person: “Don’t paint your teeth! You painted your teeth! DON’T PAINT YOUR TEETH!” The title “Governor Rhodes” may refer to James A. Rhodes, the Ohio governor who ordered the National Guard into Kent State; the song itself is a sort of incantation with Jandek and “Nancy” repeating after each other “Celebrate our love, celebrate our magic, chant with love, chant always,” etc., in endless variations.

Review excerpts

  • Art Black, Away From the Pulsebeat Winter 1987. “Jandek lives next door to someone far away, someplace where ‘music’ is an expression of emotion and not a packaged entertainment; made for self, rather than for an audience... There’s some sorta feeling trapped in the sound that I like to bask in.”
  • Brooke Hinton, Sound Choice #6 (1987). “It sounds like this: a drummer, a guitarist, and two singers, none of whom have played or sung before but have a clear idea of what they want to do, are in someone’s garage banging and moaning and screeching away... it works, though I can’t figure out why. I get the impression that part of Jandek’s purpose is to confuse people. The album is absolutely ridiculous but I can’t stop listening to it... the muddy, distorted sound quality draws the listener into Jandek’s very strange world and MAKES him/her try to understand...”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “While firmly entrenched in the ‘classic’ Jandek sound of open-chord guitar pluckery and vocals that teeter on the brink of losing what little grip of sanity was there, this album stands out for a surprisingly consistent rhythmic attack on the first six tracks. Jandek hammers at his abused drumkit with locomotive rigor and intensity rarely heard in any of the previous recordings; of course, he inevitably loses control of the rhythm and sends it tumbling down the stairs. The rest of the tracks are far more loose in the rhythmic structure. Again, the woman who may be known as Nancy sings on a couple of tracks: one of which finds her sounding more like Jandek with a strained, atonal vibrato. Towards the end of the album, there are a couple of tracks in which a third male voice appears.”
  • uncredited, CMJ #92, May 1986. “Since the early ’80s this Houston recluse has been quietly releasing two or three albums a year of his despairing moans, groans and words of discontent, all set to a skeletal accompaniment of hesitant guitar, squeaky harmonica and a muffled drum beat that would do any toddler with a pot proud. Sometimes he’s joined by a sweet-throated lady (imagine Melanie trapped in hell) who adds a fresh touch of the near-normal to ‘Telegraph Melts’ and ‘Governor Rhodes,’ but Jandek’s upsetting wails on ‘Don’t Paint Your Teeth’ and ‘Mother’s Day Card’ (from Norman Bates, maybe) are more typical. Jandek is an acquired taste...”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “This was the first Jandek album I actually ‘heard’ after reading about him for so long. Not a good place to start. Listening to it now, and being a fan, I can appreciate it... ‘Governor Rhodes’ sounds like some weird hippy love-in crap, with Nancy and what sounds like Jandek or a guy he met down at the pub, going on about peace and love... ‘You Painted Your Teeth’ remains an utterly LSD/PCP damaged horror movie nightmare...”

Corwood 0751

[album cover]

FOLLOW YOUR FOOTSTEPS

(LP, 1986)

(CD reissue, 2002)

Songs

Side 1: Honey (3:13) / What Do You Want to Sing (2:11) / Jaws of Murmur (4:50) / Preacher (3:50) / Didn’t Ask Why (4:10) / Leave All You Have (3:48); Side 2: I Know You Well (3:13) / Dearly Need Some Words (4:16) / Straight Thirty Seconds (3:00) / Bring on Fatima (2:40) / For Today (3:49) / Collection (3:41) / We’re All Through (1:19)

Lyrics

Cover

A very young (teenage?) Jandek stands wearing a somewhat disheveled white Oxford shirt and... a solid body electric guitar! An important cover, because it shows that Jandek has been playing music since a relatively early age. He appears to be in a basement with a very low ceiling, though there’s a window behind him, curtains halfway drawn, but it could be one of those basement window well windows. Jandek’s facial expression is blank, perhaps slightly startled.

Data

The alternate male vocalist we’ll call “Eddie” (see entry for Blue Corpse) is heard on this record for the first time. At the beginning of “Bring on Fatima”, a male voice (Eddie? not Jandek, anyway) says “Caledonia Mahogany’s elbows”, a quote from the Frank Zappa song “Call Any Vegetable” (on Absolutely Free). On the CD reissue, this line is missing. Some of the other tracks also begin differently on the reissue: “Didn’t Ask Why” is missing a few seconds of guitar, “I Know You Well” has a few extra seconds of guitar, and “Straight Thirty Seconds” is missing a man laughing. (Perhaps the album was mastered for CD from the original session tapes with the song beginnings picked out by ear instead of by comparison to the LP.)

Review excerpts

  • Byron Coley, Forced Exposure #12. “A song like ‘For Today’, w/ its sparsely-plunked notes and melancholically assertive vocals, could almost be an out-take from one of Michael Hurley’s classic albums on Raccoon... As the soul of individualism is being destroyed by the forces of evil, Jandek’s flame is an especially bright beacon in the dark.”
  • Lawrence Talbot, Sound Choice #8 (1987) “The solo numbers with acoustic 12-string and intense vocals are hard to top, but the drum-guitar duo that starts the first side has its own kind of ambience that is also priceless. What we have here is a record but more than that, part of a career that comes to us almost rolled up in a time capsule. It is about only itself and makes everything else irrelevant.”
  • Art Black, Away From the Pulsebeat #? (1988?). “The most song-oriented Jandek yet, with genuine rhythms & strums, percussion so minimal as to be near nonexistent, a rare second guitar or vocals. Sorta like Phil Spector’s worst nightmare.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “While the last couple of recordings demonstrated a celebratory silliness... [this] exhibits greater tendencies towards introspection and musical isolation... what is most striking about this album is the genuine blues stucturalism of the guitar chords. Melody, even if it’s just two chords rhythmically strummed on an acoustic guitar, has become an important element in Jandek’s oeuvre. Of course, the songs utter the mythologically oblique imagery of preachers, time, reality, and nature — all typical of Jandek’s epistemological inquiries. It’s a cold world where Jandek lives.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “The opening chords of ‘Honey’ represent a kinder, gentler Jandek. The jangly, tuneful chords almost sounding like an English C86 indie band before the drums come in and drown out EVERYTHING... this album points to the beginning of Jandek perfecting a more ‘melodic’ and ‘cohesive’ type of space-blues-folk that can easily appeal to ‘indie’ or ‘pop’ ears.”

Corwood 0752

[album cover]

MODERN DANCES

(LP, 1987)

(CD reissue, 2002)

Songs

Side 1: Painted My Teeth (4:47) / Twelve Minutes Since February 32’nd [sic] (4:28) / Hand For Harry Idle (3:58) / Number 512 (3:30) / Nothing is Better Than God (4:22); Side 2: Spiritual Song (4:20) / Spanish in Me 003 (4:21) / I Want to Know Why (5:15) / Simple as That (2:07) / Open E (3:17) / Carnival Queen (3:33)

Lyrics

Cover

Shirtless Jandek stands by a brick building. This photo is obviously a pair with the one on the cover of Blue Corpse. Less obvious is that the area visible in the background, into which Jandek is gazing, is the garden from the cover of Telegraph Melts.

Data

“Painted My Teeth” is an alternate version of “You Painted Your Teeth” from Telegraph Melts. Jandek confesses his Spanish inclinations in “Spanish in Me 003”. Bit of a religious theme here with “Nothing is Better Than God” and “Spiritual Song”.

Review excerpts

  • Jimmy Johnson, Forced Exposure #12. “It’s tempting to ‘genericize’ these reviews of Sir Jandek: LP #14, eleven songs, B&W cover (I think I’m up for another color job), etc., but there’s enough new excitement here to keep me going for a lifetime.”
  • Art Black, Away From the Pulsebeat #? (1988?). “Almost a comedy album, and certainly a lot fuller, noisier [than Blue Corpse]. Slow and desperately filthy rusty percussive beats, electric guitar played by 2 rats fighting, making up, and fucking on the fretboard, noisy fuzzyhowl male vocals joined by that anonymous femme and yet another he-throat in places...”
  • uncredited, CMJ #125, August 1987. “By definition, the most alternative thing one can do is something that very few people can actually appreciate — the more alternative it is, the more completely it deviates from the norm. Thus a completely alternative record would be one which no one ever listened to... there are records with an ideological base that approaches this concept of an ‘absolute alternative,’ which are produced for and of themselves, devoid of any interest in accessibility on even the most marginal levels... By our reckoning Modern Dances is Jandek’s twenty-third project, each with its own particular version of his vocal screeches, screams and groans, plodding percussion, disjointed guitar and unique song structure; this one features a mysterious, evocative female guest vocalist, a first for Jandek.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “This album showcases two sides to Jandek — the comedically emphatic avant-blues from the “Jandek band” (with vocal appearances from the woman known as Nancy and the intrusion of percussive splutter which may be indicative of a third party) and the solitary arrangements for Jandek and his guitar. The former is a deliberate slop of off-kilter blues progressions, the aforementioned arrhythmic drums, and oblique duets between Jandek and Nancy... If Pussy Galore took themselves seriously instead of jokingly posturing through ill-tempered blues, it might have sounded something like this side of Jandek. The latter is what most people think of Jandek — open chords aimlessly plucked and strummed while his fragile voice cracks in the construction of a painfully sad mood.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Jandek tries out different versions of his psycho-classic ‘Painted My Teeth’. Here he duets with Nancy in what sounds like one of those Rowland S. Howard/Lydia Lunch junky-goth duets. Nancy appears on a lot of tracks here, the two of them yelling and hollering and each other, especially on the clanging opus ‘I Want to Know Why’ in which Nancy and Jandek keep asking each other ‘why?’ Then its back to one-man mope-mode to balance things out for the last three tracks...”

Corwood 0753

[album cover]

BLUE CORPSE

(LP, 1987)

(CD reissue, 2002)

(CD re-reissue, 2005)

Songs

Side 1: I Passed By the Building (3:44) / C F (2:07) / Variant (1:44) / Part II (1:45) / Your Other Man (5:36) / Long Way (0:50) / Down at the Ball Park (2:14); Side 2: Harmonica (5:04) / House of the Rising Sun (4:34) / Only Lover (10:48) / Quinn Boys (1:52) / One Minute (1:00)

Lyrics

Cover

Shirtless Jandek walks by a building. (Lyrics to first song: “I passed by the building you were working in...”) Photo is black and white, blurry with motion: a Futurist portrait of the dynamism of Jandek and a brick wall.

Data

All acoustic guitar and vocals except for the closer, “One Minute”, which is just vocals and drumkit, and “Harmonica”, which is a harmonica solo for most of its length, then guitar and wordless vocals join in. “House of the Rising Sun” is based on the traditional song (the best known recording is by the Animals). The first three tracks, and the last one, are sung by a different male vocalist (who’s also heard on Follow Your Footsteps and On the Way); Jandek sings the rest. The guitar styles are different too, suggesting that the two men changed places. On “Down at the Ball Park” Jandek is heard saying “take it, Eddie”, so let’s call him Eddie.

Editions

This CD was re-reissued in August 2005. The 2002 and 2005 editions are visually indistinguishable as far as I can see other than the usual longer track times (see the Editions entries for Corwoods 0739 and 0740). A note from Corwood accompanying the new edition said “Newly remastered. All previous editions are obsolete.”

Comments

Jandek goes acoustic again after a long run of mostly electric LP’s, but this is quite different from the early acoustic LP’s. The songs are more musically and emotionally distinct, though this is attained partially through a much more conventional, strumming-based style on acoustic guitar. (Perhaps it’s the same, more conventionally adept guitarist who plays electric on the next album.) For most of the LP, Jandek adopts a distinct vocal style, higher pitched and more breathy. Nancy has disappeared, and a lot of the songs are about a breakup. Did they break up and this LP is the aftermath? We don’t know, but the sequencing of the albums has always given me that impression.

Review excerpts

  • Art Black, Away From the Pulsebeat #? (1988?). “Dead minimal Blues, morose & melancholy... with ‘Harmonica’ a sad & lost solo on that instrument for most of its 5 minutes, before the distant guitar and, well, something else join in.”
  • Jane Sears, Reflex 4/1988. “This newer album contains more folk sounds and less of the dissonance Jandek is so well known for... Jandek’s angst-ridden vocals... filled with trials and tribulations...”
  • Richie Unterberger, Option, April 1998. “This ain’t exactly tuneful in the Goffin-King sense... but it is his most accessible. The trademark disconnected barren landscapes still flit through his lyrics, and the vocals are still anguished, though in a soft moaning way rather than the blood-curdling manic half-scream that he’s also been known to favor. Instead of flailing about on an untuned guitar, he now sticks almost exclusively to conventional, non-dissonant chords, usually with a folky strum that echoes down-home blues and early 70’s acoustic Neil Young... which is not to say that yer average listener won’t find this unfathomably demented compared to any other solo acoustic songwriter album you can name.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “If there’s a single Jandek record to own, I would strongly recommend this one...it stands as a rare moment of clarity within his typically willful obliteration of blues and folk standards. Blue Corpse constantly returns to citations of killing time, falling into the river, and pining for lost love. Jandek’s naturally melancholic wisp of a voice mopes through each of these songs, presenting itself as an embodiment of his internal gloom. Of course, these could be allegorical fictions and metaphoric dramas. Musically, there is also a considerable change in the Jandek approach [here] as his solo guitar work is principally acoustic and actually follows recognizably folkish chord progressions.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Theory has it that Nancy left Jandek for good and this record was the painful result of that, his ‘breakup’ album. Also, apparently the singer on the first three songs isn't Jandek, but his mate Bob from the pub. I still think it's Jandek... ‘Your Other Man’ finds Jandek doing his finest Dylan impersonation... ‘Only Lover’ is ten minutes of echoey-vocals over Jandek on acoustic guitar, improvising whatever's in his head at the time, it's as good as anything by Skip Spence.”

Corwood 0754

[album cover]

YOU WALK ALONE

(LP, 1988)

(CD reissue, 2002)

Songs

Side 1: Lavender (3:37) / Time and Space (7:15) / The Cat That Walked From Shelbyville (6:23) / Quinn Boys II (4:00); Side 2: The Way That You Act (4:25) / I Know the Times (3:11) / When the Telephone Melts (9:09) / War Dance (4:05)

Lyrics

Cover

A young Jandek (pre-recording career, perhaps, but not nearly as young as the Lost Cause cover boy or the guitarist on the cover of Follow Your Footsteps) stands, wearing some stylish Texas-style boots (“You are a cowboy when you wear those boots”), squinting into the sun, right hand in his pants pocket, left thumb hooked on his belt, standing in front of an old white house. There is a broken chair on the front porch, which is somewhat overgrown with bushes. The shade on the window is up! I think of this as the “Jandek leaves home” photo. Jandek’s torso obscures enough of the door and mailbox to hide the house number — the man is nothing if not careful to cover his trail. He’s looking tall, thin, and long-legged in this photo.

Data

“Quinn Boys II” is a sequel to “Quinn Boys” from Blue Corpse. “The Cat That Walked From Shelbyville” reprises “For Today” from Follow Your Footsteps. Title of “When the Telephone Melts” echoes title of the earlier LP Telegraph Melts. Two guitars are heard almost throughout, whether both belonging to Jandek no one can say. The back cover lists the wrong zip code: 77020 instead of 77220.

Review excerpts

  • Jimmy Johnson, Forced Exposure #14, pg. 96. “A celebratory exorcism... His most hard-rockin’, conventional record... The progression of the guitar playing is astounding... It recalls the savage beauty of Mr. Howling Wolf... A masterpiece.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “...surprisingly celebratory in tone... [Jandek] multi-tracks drums (with a more controlled meandering across a drum kit) and additional guitars onto the archetypal Jandek sound of his ghostly voice and avant-blues songs. The points of interest for this album [include] advanced finger picking techniques which haven’t previously found their way onto Jandek’s albums...”
  • Daniel Marks, web review (full review). “It’s hard to pick one single album as Jandek’s best considering the constant change in style, but this is my favorite. It’s tuneful enough to be tolerable, but not too much that it isn’t Jandek anymore. This is space-blues-rock at its weirdest... When this album is taken in comparison to some of the Early Period stuff, it’s hard to imagine how they could be the same artist. The songs here sound thought out and possibly rehearsed, but still spontaneous, like the hoot and holler of ‘War Dance’. Jandek makes his most accessible album not by abandoning his basic style but adding into it a more solid interpretation of the blues. He manages to capture not just the music but the spirit of the recordings. It sounds like he’s having a lot of fun, and that fun rubs off on the listener as well... When put in comparison with other blues-rock albums, it’s a piece of trash, but within the context of Jandek’s bizarre catalog, You Walk Alone may very well be the best album you’ve ever heard.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “From the beautiful Velvetsy opening chords of ‘Lavender’, it seems that Jandek has turned yet another creative corner... The oonga-boonga drums are still there, but the electric guitar playing has improved somewhat, and there's another player onboard ‘beefing’ up the sound with reasonably skillful licks and lead runs. In fact some of the garage/lounge room jams on this record are nearly as good as the Reed/Morrison combo in their prime... Jandek's idiosyncratic space-blues working in full effect. In hindsight this ranks as one of the finer indie records of the '80's full-stop.”

Corwood 0755

[album cover]

ON THE WAY

(LP, 1988)

(CD reissue, 2003)

Songs

Side 1: Wrap It Up (3:04) / Bring It Back to Seventy-Five (2:29) / Message to the Clerk (6:46) / Give It the Name (5:33) / Ambient Instrument (2:23) / Sadie (2:20); Side 2: I’ll Sit Alone and Think a Lot About You (8:50) / The Only Way You Can Go (5:28) / I’m Ready (5:45)

Lyrics

Cover

Wins the award for all-time most indistinct Jandek cover photo thus far, and that’s no small feat. Very dark interior of a house with the silhouette of a drumkit and some piece of furniture (or possibly a piano?) only barely visible in the dim light that filters through the drawn curtain. Photo is in color, not that you’d notice unless you looked very closely. This is one of those pictures that the photo lab gives you a refund on.

Data

New “Message to the Clerk”, done up as a pretty straight electric blues. “I’ll Sit Alone and Think a Lot About You” is over eight minutes and often verges on inaudibility. There are at least two, perhaps three different male vocalists on this album: Jandek, “Eddie”, and either Eddie or a third singer on “Sadie” and “Give It the Name”.

Review excerpts

  • Byron Coley, Forced Exposure #15, pg. 88. “The most varied and easily-accessed Corwoodian brain-scrambler in a while... Of course, if you pay close attention you discover that the central core is as explosively cathartic as any of Jandek’s previous recs.”
  • Glen Thrasher, LowLife #15, pg. 18. “Every Jandek record is a letter as personal as it is anonymous. Listening to a new one I get the feeling I should not be listening at all... To study, analyze, and ponder over these private soundtracks is quite immoral.”
  • Fred Mills, Sound Choice #17 (1992). “...it’s the timelessness of Jandek’s music; not in the usual sense, but more in the way each recording seems to interlock, ‘progression’ being a deliberate avoidance of industry-biz ‘growth’ (in terms of finesse, or production, or definable writing periods). Jandek, the sonic jigsaw architect: the picture steadily gets bigger, but never in the right direction... Side one is the rock ’n’roll side this time out... ‘Sadie’ is gutwrenching, sleazy blues that could’ve been a demo for Exile on Main Street one time long, long ago. ‘Message to the Clerk’ is Chicago-by-way-of-Delta honk with some terrific harp blowing and what’s maybe Jandek’s most forceful (lucid yet drunkenly manic at the same time) vocals to date — with personally revealing lyrics involving the doctor, the priest, the boss and even the teeth... ‘Give it the Name’ sounds like Big Brother and the Holding Company jamming before Janis arrives. Side two, by contrast, is a total reversal of its raucous counterpart, a quite meditative set for voice, acoustic guitar and marginal percussion. ‘I’ll Sit Alone And Think A Lot About You’ is 9 mins. of impenetrability, as painful for the artist to record as it is for the listener to decipher...”
  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2003. “Features a darkly obscured color photograph of a drum kit barely illuminated at dusk through a window shade. I’m not sure it really translates on CD, but in original LP form it rated as one of the more staggeringly oblique jackets of all time.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2003. “Pretty abrasive... although it also has the distinction of being one of the more technically proficient albums from Jandek. Working clearly with recognizable blues progressions, Jandek offers a range of expressive (albeit sharply mangled) guitar solos on top of a rhythm section that actually keeps relatively normal time. Yet at the same time, Jandek is really aggro, finding himself on the manic side of the bi-polar equation...”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Album opener finds Jandek experimenting in the studio panning the lyrics hard left and instruments hard right... ‘Message to the Clerk’ gets the Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee treatment here on one of the most ‘conventional’ and passionate performances of his career... Members of Jandek's anonymous musical 'collective' from either the local pub, church group or Rotary Club seem to have returned, as the person I call ‘Jeff’ makes a somewhat drunken and rambling guest vocal on ‘Sadie’. The last three tracks find Jandek in quite an introspective, mellow mood... Jandek is well and truly finding his mojo. Whether accidental or on purpose, that's genius by any motherfucker's standards.”

Corwood 0756

[album cover]

THE LIVING END

(LP, 1989)

(CD reissue, 2003)

Songs

Side 1: Niagra Blues (3:41) / Janitor’s Dead (3:00) / Slinky Parade (4:31) / The Living End (2:17) / License to Kill (2:32) / Talk That Talk (6:25); Side 2: Start the Band (1:32) / Girl From America (1:53) / Embrace the World Outside (2:03) / In a Hush (2:45) / Take Me Away With You (6:50) / Crazy (4:16)

Lyrics

Cover

A full-on, close-up, black and white shot of the man himself, hair uncombed, mouth slightly open, against a plain white background. Or almost plain white: in some places the background was clearly cut away, but in other places faint gray streaks are visible. This is the definitive photo of Jandek, the one to bring with you when you camp out at the Corwood P.O. box or wander the streets of Houston looking for him.

Data

“Janitor’s Dead” is a sequel to “The Janitor” from Later On.

Review excerpts

  • Glen Thrasher, LowLife #16, pg. 32. “There is a special solitary beauty to everything that comes from the Corwood Post Office Box that nothing else in the entire ‘recording industry’ can approximate.”
  • uncredited, CMJ #211, November 1990. “ ...the mysterious Jandek has remained the most solitary and impenetrable of blues travelers, and on The Living End, he’s got dem old lonesome, downhearted brown-acid blooze again. Most of this album features the prominent vocal stylings of the mysterious uncredited female vocalist (Mrs. Jandek?) whose eerie and disembodied presence has been felt on numerous Jandek projects, but never so thoroughly or deeply as here. She langours and languishes through metaphysical duets with the master (flashing back to a young Grace Slick in a cracked jam at the Airplane House circa `66), as the two partake in a rambling metaphysical discourse reminiscent of John and Yoko’s spoken word/groan Plastic Ono collaborations like Two Virgins or Life With The Lions. There’s plenty of the off-kilter blues cacophony you’d expect from a good Jandek album — thunderous, detuned tom-toms and plunky, cracked-neck guitars — but Jandek seems to be pulling it all with him toward some unknown spiritual destination, a bit like an avant-garde Van Morrison or a deconstructed Marvin Gaye. It’s either totally deep or totally junk, but if he goes to such pains as to include a minuet (‘Pastimes’), a monastic chant (‘Om’) and a whole song constructed from plinking those little bits of the strings down by the guitar’s bridge, he has to have some idea what he’s doing.”
  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2003. “Twelve shorter trackers, dual blues... ‘Nancy’ sings ‘Crazy’, which is the track you’ll put on your next mix tape.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “For a couple of years at the end of the ’80s through the beginning of the ’90s, the mysterious Texan avant-folk artist Jandek produced his most polished and refined recordings. Yet at the same time, these recordings could never be described as anything but Jandekian. The songs are still led by angular mutations of blues chord progressions that constantly meander out of tune and occasionally return to archetypal melodies; however, the production quality is distinctly balanced. The guitars — which alternate between electric and acoustic — sit comfortably within the stereofield, never striving for the nails-on-the-chalkboard abrasion as heard on previous Jandek albums... The drums while typically arrhythmic and clunky also politely stand behind the other instrumentation... comparatively ‘well-adjusted’ and less manic-depressive...”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “ ...an iconic album cover... the man, in genuine ‘anti hero’ mode — giving you either a totally uncertain or a ‘what the fuck do you want, motherfucker?’ type look. The first five songs on the album are basically Jandek and friend learning how to jam the blues, the same way you probably did with a Mel Bay book when you were 15. Track six, ‘Talk That Talk’ finds Jandek's hired-gun guitarist really fanging it, on some bitchin’ electrified blues... album closer ‘Crazy’ finds our dynamic duo [Jandek and Nancy] back to their old fractured and cracked sonic tricks, the type of music you make when its 42 degrees C outside and you've had way too much beer and pot and crank...”

Corwood 0757

[album cover]

SOMEBODY IN THE SNOW

(LP, 1990)

(CD reissue, 2003)

Songs

Side 1: Tell Me Who You Are (3:48) / Come Through With a Smile (5:52) / I May Not Be Around (2:03) / Pastimes (3:15) / Om (2:27) / Bring It In a Manger (2:17); Side 2: Walking Around (2:48) / Sense of Reason (2:00) / Remind You (2:32) / Corner of the Street (2:51) / Stick With Me (2:42) / What You Give Me (3:05) / You Sing a Song (1:33) / Walking Home (2:03)

Lyrics

Cover

Jandek, looking very stylish. If he ever applies for a job as a model for a JC Penney catalog this photo will be in his portfolio. His blond, perhaps slightly reddish hair (with matching eyebrows) is combed back, apparently with the aid of gel or other hair care product, and he’s got his hands in the pockets of his sport coat, leaning forward and giving a point a bit to the left of the camera a sort of quizzical look with piercing blue eyes. He’s standing in a large field of green grass, the overgrown edge of which is just visible at the top of the photo.

Data

Side 1 features Nancy’s sister Pat, who we first heard on one song on Chair Beside a Window. We know her name from a 1982 letter from Corwood quoted in Irwin Chusid’s book. The letter doesn’t confirm that the singer on this record is also Pat, but my ears say it is. There’s a lot of hard stereo separation on this album: lyrics decipherers man your balance knobs. Note the “Bowery / Beacon Hill” trope in “Remind You” which was also used in “Quinn Boys” and “Quinn Boys II”. They’re both old-time skid rows (in New York and Seattle)... anyone know if always pairing them like that might come from a specific source? It sounds repeated from something. Side 2 sounds like it was all recorded together. The hard stereo separation and the way the instruments don’t sound like they were recorded in the same acoustic space suggest that it was assembled by overdubbing. This could be the session that Corwood referred to in a letter to Irwin Chusid where all the instruments were overdubbed by the representative himself. “Remind You” has the rep doing separate vocal tracks in the left and right channel, and they even overlap at one point, so that’s definitely overdubbed.

Comments

At the beginning of the album when the male singer says “All right, all right.... alllll right... It’s all riiiiight....”: it is. It is completely all right. How could it be any better? On “Remind You”, when Jandek says “are you serious when you say my name” it sounds like Dylan to me (mentally I follow it with Dylan’s “Honey I can’t believe that you’re for real” from “On the Road”). The a cappella track “Om&rdquo sticks out because it’s so out of character, and “Bring It In a Manger”, well, I hardly to know what to say about it. It’s singular. It’s definitely the best Christmas song ever, and certainly the only one with the word “genitals” in it. Though Pat isn’t as strong a singer as her sister, “Come Through With a Smile” is the track where she makes the best case for herself. On the same track, I also really like the way the drums underscore the lead guitar.

Review excerpts

  • Steve Erickson, Cut #10, pg. 28. “As lush as untuned guitars recorded on a 4-track can get (closer than you think)... Jandek’s muse continues to progress.”
  • Glen Thrasher, LowLife #17, pg. ???. “Rounded up into one big heap, all the Jandek records at once amount to an almost impenetrable thing... A demanding, invigorating, tragic, visionary work.”
  • Lisa Carver & Bill Callahan, Rollerderby #???. “LISA: This is one cover that makes me wish we had a stereo. Jandek looks really creepy with his Scandinavian colorlessness and big bent back. BILL: I think it’s time for me to slick my hair back and grow sideburns.”
  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2003. “Brightly colored photograph of a well-gelled man is a favorite in many circles. Musically similar to the Living End sessions.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2003. “...doesn’t deviate from the path set by its predecessor... in polishing his avant-folk/blues songs into a small subset of relatively tasteful recordings. Yet, this album is not without its eccentricities and creepy mysteries... While there are a couple of acoustic guitar numbers, Jandek mostly plays electric guitar with a signature laziness, allowing all of the twinkling notes to swim in the spring reverb from his amp.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...suave and sinister... The ‘Boogie Period’ continues, though on this album he's gone for a more psychedelic, yet earthy vibe... Bleed. It seems that Nancy's back, though Seth Tisue reckons it's a new singer, and since there's no real knowledge of the actual chronology of Jandek's recordings, I reckon it's Nancy recorded at a later period in time. The opening three tracks find Nancy taking sole vocal duties, then there's a quite amateurishly lovely instrumental ‘Pastimes’ before things just go MENTAL... Nervy playing coupled with Jandek's experimenting with stereo vocals makes it a challenging and often jarring experience...”

Corwood 0758

[album cover]

[album back cover]

ONE FOOT IN THE NORTH

(LP, 1991)
(CD reissue, 2003)

Songs

Side 1: Yellow Pages (6:57) / Angel (3:17) / Show the Man Your Picture (1:51) / Think About Your Lady (2:41) / Real Fine Movement (2:36) / Alehouse Blues (3:10); Side 2: Upon the Grandeur (8:27) / Phoenix (4:43) / Dreaming Man (3:33) / Breast in a Moonbeam (2:32) / Honey (1:20)

Lyrics

Cover

Jandek’s from-the-waist-up profile in dark gray silhouette against a light gray background, mouth open, shirt collar poking out. In the lower left is the corner of a piece of furniture (a table?) with a cup or candleholder sitting on it. It looks like he’s in dense fog, except he’s indoors. Actually, it might be just his shadow. The cover is remarkably similar to the cover of the much earlier LP Later On, except that the earlier cover lacks the fog effect and there’s different stuff on the table: a glass in one, the top of a bottle (of wine?) and a strange object I can’t identify in the other. In fact, if you look very closely, these two photos were definitely taken at the same time, though from a slightly different angle — there’s an object, probably a microphone stand, that appears in both shots at the same height and angle, and his shirt is uncoming untucked in front in the same way in both.

Data

Type on the back cover of the LP release is set in those cheesy faux-Asian letters you see on the signs on Chinese restaurants. What can it mean? Byron Coley: “A rumor had floated around a coupla years ago that there would be only 19 Jandek LP’s. The essence of the tale was that Jandek had recorded 19 LP’s worth of material during a burst of manic creativity in the early ’80s...” Well, here’s number 20. Doubt Jandek not. Electric guitar (sometimes one, sometimes two) and vocals, no woman singer, no acoustic guitar, drums about a third of the time. “Yellow Pages” is a kind of cousin to “European Jewel”. “Alehouse Blues” is a pretty straight electric blues. “Upon the Grandeur” is built around a very beautiful winding figure on the guitar; there’s also a second guitarist and someone thumping along throughout on a kettle drum (?). (At the end you can hear two male voices speaking to each other, off-mike: I can’t pick out any words except when one of them says “What?”)

Review excerpts

  • Byron Coley, Forced Exposure #18, pg. 83. “Jandek’s collected works represent a vast sonic and emotional map that holds an incredible wealth of treasure...”
  • Glen Thrasher, LowLife #17, pg. ???. “A quick glimpse at the twenty LP’s by this extraordinary Texas original might lead some people to conclude that he’s some misplaced Borges character, tirelessly rereleasing the same record over and over, stubbornly attempting to perfect his art without changing anything... Yet he constantly redefines his personal vision.”
  • uncredited, CMJ #240, June 1991. “ Hey, folks, don’t get so upset about that guy downstairs moaning, groaning and battering his guitar: that’s jus’ ol’ Mr. Jandek, workin’ it on out. Last year found the mysterious shaman fidgeting with his formula of confrontational interstellar blues/folk/rock and poetic psychodrama, presenting a Jandek in transition, with a tenuous link to previous work, and One Foot In The North continues this motion, but even a Jandek in flux is bolder and stronger than most mere mortals. ‘Upon The Grandeur,’ for instance, could be Jandek’s ‘Stairway To Heaven,’ with its placid acoustic intro, yet another interplanetary epic of oblique poetry and lucid guitar exploration... He’s likeable in his own crooning, dissonant and eerie way. Influential, oblique and utterly incomprehensible from first note to last, every passing Jandek album gives us more clues, which still don’t necessarily make the picture any clearer.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2003. “...at the college radio station... in heavy PSA rotation was a particularly haunting one on schizophrenia. Making the 30 second saga of this misunderstood teenager even creepier was the backing music which some smartass at the radio station had grafted onto the announcement. It was ‘Yellow Pages’ by Jandek. With its lazy electric guitar meandering through a series of painfully sad notes and the lyrics ‘You’ve got to help me dear/ Because there’s no release/ From this tangled beast’ which chimed in perfectly to the scripted dialogue, the pathos of abject failure and mental anguish was so perfectly realized, it was comical... quintessential downer listening.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “This album sounds like a bit of a pastiche of out-takes and recordings from his BLUE and PURPLE periods with a bit of BOOGIE thrown in for good measure... ‘Upon the Grandeur’ lives up to its title — eight and a half minutes of beautiful panoramic balladry, oozing atmosphere, another Jandek classic...”

Corwood 0759

[album cover]

LOST CAUSE

(LP, 1992)
(CD reissue, 2003)

Songs

Side 1: Green and Yellow (4:07) / Babe I Love You (4:03) / Cellar (1:39) / How Many Places (2:54) / Crack a Smile (2:59) / God Came Between Us (3:25) / I Love You Now It’s True (2:50); Side 2: The Electric End (19:18)

Lyrics

Cover

Color snapshot of head and shoulders of Boy Jandek, looking about 16 though it’s hard to tell, wearing a plaid shirt and standing in front of a curtain (apparently Jandek’s liking for drawn curtains is of long standing). This could be a photo booth photo (or did color photo booths not exist yet back then?). His hair is cut conservatively short.

Data

“Babe I Love You” is an almost straight pop song with a lilting rhythm — very untypical! “The Electric End” is an epic side-long improv jam, with crazed vocals appearing only near the beginning of eighteen minutes of instrument-bashing, mostly guitar and drums but also including some sort of high-pitched whistle (?), played with abandon. This is the last LP in Jandek’s “middle period”.

Review excerpts

  • C. Koon, Yet Another Fanzine, v3#1, pg. 6. “Back when college radio was FUN, there were two main camps: those who thought that Jandek was a true genius on the level of Monk or Adkins, and those who thought that we were just looking for something so totally obscure, so unlistenable, that we would just out-hip everybody. It’s ’92... Jandek is still here... And his detractors, well, they all work for Sony now, don’t they?”
  • Jimmy Johnson, Forced Exposure #18, pg. 83. “Side one has 7 non-datable tracks of depressed blues-destroying ramble... Early optimism on the opening tracks transmutes into full desolation by the closing hack-gulps at the end... “The Electric End” is a nineteen-plus minute excursion into frothful extremes. Piercing electro-search guitar, revolutionary ultra-primitive drumming, lost-mind vocalism of real cracked creation and some sort of high end squeal (a penny whistle?) combine in an incredibly wasted fashion.”
  • uncredited, CMJ #295, July 1992. “If all the mighty alternative media forces of the nation had real guts, they’d embrace Jandek into their innermost circle of hipness, and his face along with the graphic images of Corwood Industries would suddenly become as commonplace and recognizable among the 120 Minutes set as pierced noses... Jandek’s released a string of some 20-odd releases over the years... each a tiny, tormented masterpiece of his own singular and unparalled genre. This time, it seems like a few new instruments are added to the equation — we hear what sounds like violins, bats, car horns, bagpipes, or something amidst the familiar churning drums and cracked guitar stylings.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “The last chapter in Jandek's BOOGIE period... ‘Babe I Love You’ is a cute, hooky little number that could even be hit (or a college/indie hit). ‘Crack a Smile’ finds our man playing pretty competent, mellow strummy guitar, and does his best Tim Buckley impersonation... Then things start to change. It seems that Jandek purchased some new recording equipment as well as a new out-of-tune steel string guitar [for the rest of side 1]. Album closer ‘The Electric End’ is Jandek’s version of ‘L.A. Blues’ or ‘Journey Through the Outer Darkness’ or Coltrane's ‘Om’. Nineteen minutes of atonal, psychotic BLARE featuring noise, crash, howl, one of those bird whistles and someone trying to make that weird sound that the 13th Floor Elevators did on ‘You're Gonna Miss Me’. After 4 minutes, I get a piercing migraine.”

Corwood 0760

[album cover]

TWELFTH APOSTLE

(LP, 1993)
(CD reissue, 2003)

Songs

Side 1: Walking (3:06) / You’re Not Even Alive (3:35) / Native Land (3:53) / Rooftop Sunset (2:18) / Bedside (2:48) / Solid Stone (2:41); Side 2: Out in the Rain (3:12) / The Gone Wait (3:23) / Could Be Anyone (2:56) / Twelfth Apostle (4:25) / White Knob (3:17) / Whiskers (2:13) / Four by Four (2:50)

Lyrics

Cover

After a spate of uncharacteristically revealing album covers, Jandek hides again. Color photo of the back of a house in bright daylight. Several windows are visible and the curtains on all of them are of course drawn tight. There is a brick garage behind the house with a yellow birdhouse (?) on top of it. It’s conceivably the same house as on the cover of You Walk Alone; white color and width of siding match, but there’s no way to be sure. It’s definitely not the house from Telegraph Melts though; the garage doesn’t match. The colors are noticeably more saturated on the CD reissue.

Data

“Native Land” includes the line “It’s not my fault I live in a vault,” which is likely a reference to the Bob Dylan line “I don’t mean no harm nor put fault on anyone that lives in a vault&rdquo (from “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”.

Comments

The most “pure” Jandek album since Blue Corpse — rock and/or blues overtones are basically absent. All-acoustic, one guitar only, no drums, three to four minute songs. A heavyhanded echo effect surrounds the guitar on some of side two. Mood is thorny, ambivalent, a little impersonal, serious but not depressed like Blue Corpse. This is the first album in Jandek’s “late period”; stylistically, it resembles the CD’s that follow, not the LP’s that came before. I think he didn't quite hit his stride in this style until the next two albums.

Review excerpts

  • Byron Coley, Forced Exposure #18, pg. 83. “His playing, singing, and writing are at a peak here... No one is creating a body of work w/ more offtrack cohesion and beauty than Jandek.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “The beginning of yet another new creative period... Finally, most of the album covers are in colour and feature snapshots of a house, as if Jandek has taken a holiday from his bedroom to the house next door! On first impression [this] record was way more mellow than the stuff on Telegraph Melts but no less atonal... in many ways the ‘Digital Age’ finds Jandek asserting himself as a bona-fide master of the white-boy-lounge-room-Suburban Blues at that point in time. No one sounded like him, had been as prolific as him, nor had created a body of work as unique as him. But the zeitgeist at the time was no doubt squeezing forth artists that had to have heard or admired his chutzpah of the whole Corwood production line, and were taking notice, enter: Beck, Royal Trux, Palace Music, Cat Power, Smog, etc. etc. Twelfth Apostle finds Jandek solo once again implementing a clearer sounding, yet no less fractured playing style reminiscent of his early albums, but using more scratch/plucking than the usual arrhythmic strums. ‘Could Be Anyone’ finds Jandek introducing a slight echo/delay on the guitar sound to complement the reverb on his voice...” ”

Corwood 0761

[album cover]

GRAVEN IMAGE

(CD, 1994)
(CD reissue, 2003)

Songs

Remain the Same (1:29) / Helena (2:04) / Ghost Town by the Sea (3:00) / A Real Number (2:13) / Be Going Down (2:07) / Nothing You Lack (2:03) / Chilocothe (2:35) / For You and I (2:48) / Janky (2:27) / Lake Lagoon (2:36) / Phillip Was Mentioned (3:01) / Closing (2:21) / Fishing Blues (2:44) / Going Away My Darling (5:10) / Going Away (2:13)

Lyrics

Cover

Of a piece with the cover of the previous LP. Color photo, snapshot quality, taken standing in a driveway looking towards the street with a white house on the left and a telephone pole in the foreground. It seems reasonably certain that this photo was taken at the same time as the Twelfth Apostle cover photo and from a vantage point only about twenty feet away (from this, I gather that we are supposed to consider the two albums as a pair). The two visible bushes (one right next to the house, one probably in the neighbors’ yard) are somewhat unruly but the very small portion of Jandek’s lawn that we can see seems to have been mowed fairly recently. A window on the side of the house is — surprise! — open a few inches, but the reflection on the glass makes it impossible to tell whether or not the curtain is drawn. There’s another white house across the street and a car that looks like it might date back to the early sixties sitting in the street in front of it. The house has an old fashioned stone foundation and the photo generally gives the impression of a slightly run down neighborhood which hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years or so. In fact the picture itself could be 30 years old, though the colors don’t have the feel of an old photo, they’re the kind of colors produced by a cheap present-day camera. The telephone pole in the foreground is a visual stand-in for Jandek himself: silent, anonymous, unmoving, gray-brown.

Editions

The CD was out of a print for a couple years before being reissued in 2003. The front cover on the reissue is the same, but the type on the back was redone and a bar code added.

Data

Short songs on this CD (Jandek’s first venture into digital media), 15 of them in 40 minutes. Much harmonica and accordion (both on “Phillip Was Mentioned”). In “Remains the Same”, Jandek mentions “floating down a river of tears”, continuing the “floating down a river” motif from previous LP’s. In “Ghost Town by the Sea” he mentions “Point Judith” which is the name of a song on Six and Six; it’s also a town in Rhode Island. “A Real Number” is a solo accordion instrumental which incorporates a number of traditional oompah type figures you associate with the accordion but played with a rhythmic haltingness which is Jandek’s own — plus a rather wild little finale. In “For You and I”, Jandek expresses his belief in the afterlife. “Janky” is a silly rhyming song like the ones Jandek used to record with Nancy, mainly consisting of various permutations of “Janky is clanky”. Maybe Janky is a childhood nickname or a lover’s nickname, or maybe he just made it up. “Going Away My Darling” is played on slide guitar. “Chilocothe” is the name of a former state capital of Ohio; there’s also a Chilocothe in Missouri.

Review excerpts

  • Josh Ronsen, Monk Mink Pink Punk #3, pp. 33–4. “Jandek’s blues is one of an almost nightmarish intensity of horror and desperation...”
  • Josh Ronsen, N D #19. “A continuation of the surreal/nightmare blues thing, with acoustic guitar and Jandek’s sleepy and tortured vocals.”
  • Eric Watford, CMJ #407, December 1994. “Since 1978, Jandek has sent out 23 message-in-a-bottle albums to a mostly uncaring world to which he is seemingly oblivious. Although it’s a bit startling to hold a Corwood Industries compact disc, Graven Image is another perfect, uncompromised opus from this unorthodox and dogged songwriter. Another blurry photo of his white house graces the cover of another album of meandering blues-inflected guitar phrases accompanying cryptic and anguished lyrics. What Jandek’s music lacks in conventional skill and grace it makes up for in intimacy and sincerity. His enigmatic blues meditations are a unique and compelling personal mode of communication. There are, as usual, little surprises for Jandek aficionados (an accordion solo on ‘A Real Number’ and a crazy, light-hearted harmonica blues number called ‘Janky’), but overall he remains remarkably consistent and true to his original vision, however obscure that vision might be. On the aptly-titled opening track, ‘Remain The Same,’ he sings ‘I drive, I don’t know where I’m driving. I am, I don’t know what it is to be.. You can just find me floating, sometimes, down rivers of tears...’”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Jandek's tales of suburban claustrophobia and banal situations continue... He obviously seems older, more introspective and existential if there's an operative word, and his lyrics have that sort of simple yet poetically suggestive tone...”

Corwood 0762

[album cover]

GLAD TO GET AWAY

(CD, 1994)

Songs

Bitter Tale (2:25) / Hey Mister Can You Tell Me (3:33) / Ezekiel (2:49) / Moon Dance (2:22) / Flowers on My Shirt (2:36) / Morning Drum (2:58) / Down Clown (2:45) / Rain in Madison (2:19) / Van Ness Mission (3:03) / Anticipation (3:12) / Nancy Knows (3:10) / Take My Will (4:03) / Plenty (2:00) / What (3:06)

Lyrics

Cover

Almost identical to Graven Image. It looks like he stepped about ten feet to one side — you’re looking down the driveway along the side of the house, instead of just at the back of the house — and took another photo.

Data

Though this says 1994 on the back, to my knowledge it wasn’t actually available until early 1995. In “Rain in Madison” Jandek mentions his car — I would have figured him as an “on foot” kind of guy, or at most an old one-speed bicycle. The echo effect that first appeared on Twelfth Apostle is used again here; on tracks 9 and 10 it’s coupled with a stereo ping pong effect that makes me slightly queasy if I listen on headphones.

Comments

I listen to this one the most of any of the “late” Jandek albums (I would define “late” as beginning with Twelfth Apostle). It holds up very well against any of his earlier work. It’s similar in sound to the last two, but stronger: the songs are more distinct, assured, and memorable (even without recourse to collaborators or genre references), and it’s a real peak in the development of Jandek’s guitar playing (but again, without referencing conventional styles of music). Check out the solo guitar instrumental “Nancy Knows”. The just voice-and-acoustic-guitar setup makes you expect a throwback to his early LP’s, but everything about the construction of the music has grown and transformed. Jandek seems alert and focused here, in distinct contrast to the confused and confusing next few CD’s to follow.

Review excerpts

  • Tommy Tearaway, Outsight web site (http://www.concentric.net/~Hopeorch/outsight/). Joint review of Glad to Get Away and White Box Requiem. “He sometimes howls with that lonely pain found on Steven Jesse Bernstein’s Trigger demos... I give this six washing machines, rusting away in a back yard.”
  • uncredited (Jimmy Johnson?), Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 1995. “The 2nd Jandek CD, an all-acoustic masterpiece. Haunting, eternal genius, continued.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “Sixteen years after his first album, Jandek sounds more confident in his playing, and his vocals are more up front, but his detuned/untuned acoustic guitar and depressed, stream-of-consciousness folk/blues songs remain at the core of his music... ‘Rain in Madison’ jumps out, a cracked blues-style story about... something (‘you know you can’t bring no electric devices out in the rain’). On ‘Van Ness Mission,’ he turns up the echo full blast for a disturbing ’delic journey that continues on ‘Anticipation’ like a free-style Tav Falco goin’ down slow. ‘Nancy Knows’ is an awkward but complex instrumental that clearly shows Jandek now moving his left hand around the neck of his guitar in a way very foreign to his early open-strum approach. I wonder if the tune is named for the same Nancy who sang on chair beside a window back in ’82. ‘Take My Will’ is more early blues, Jandek-style... He pulls out his harmonica for a little dylan-squeal accompaniment on ‘Plenty’. The cycles of nature are not often rapid; listen as one of nature’s strangest wonders continues to slowly ‘progress.’”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...opens with some plunking in what sounds like Jandek attempting to learn some Appalachian banjo picking. It doesn't get far before he delivers one of his most outrageous lines, the horror movie: ‘Hey mister can you tell me, is there a knife stuck in your face?’ delivered in a purely absurdist style that fits perfectly with the general absurdist feel of this record. Out of tune Appalachian banjo-picking and scratch strumming are the order of the day... and will represent the bulk of Jandek's acoustic guitar playing style to this day. Travel seems to be on the agenda here as Jandek tells us about ‘Rain in Madison’ and the ‘Van Ness Mission’ which is drowned in echo, and makes his detuned strumming sound kinda rubbery.”

Corwood 0763

[album cover]

WHITE BOX REQUIEM

(CD, 1996)

Songs

The Glade (1:23) / White Box (3:48) / Second Thoughts (1:40) / Concrete Steps (3:43) / Eternal Waltz (4:29) / Thinking (1:41) / Part Yesterday (3:02) / Walking in the Meadow (7:45) / Evening Sun (2:44) / Must Have Been a Miracle (2:00) / Wondering (2:44) / What Should I Do (1:46) / Approaching the City (4:27) / Didn’t Really Die (4:27)

Lyrics

Cover

Very grainy enlarged-looking color photo of a teenage Jandek with outrageous sideburns. This looks to have been taken at about the same time as the Foreign Keys cover.

Data

Continued use of the echo box.

Comments

Glad to Get Away was really direct and forward looking, an older-but-wiser kind of record: Jandek’s alone but “glad to get away” and see things anew. But then this one’s weirdly directionless and out of sorts — even a little alarming. It’s not like Blue Corpse, which is a record about sadness, from a perspective at least partially outside it. Here Jandek sounds confused and uncertain and that’s directly expressed in the music, which wanders disorientedly, full of tangents, fragments, and false starts. Bits of lyrics: “I been a bad case of the second thoughts... Yesterday I could say it... I’m not able to.... What should I do... Don’t know if what I did was wrong or right.” Note the last two tracks, though. The guitar playing gets uncharacteristically worked up on “Approaching the City”, and then “Didn’t Really Die”, the closing track has a worked-out, concluding-statement feel to it that kinda wraps up the loose ends of the rest of the record. “These are my second thoughts,” he sings. (The last song is his second thoughts on the rest of the disc, or the whole disc is his second thoughts about his past...?)

Review excerpts

  • Karen Eliot, Bullet Train web site (http://www.galivant.com/~tjustman/bultoc.htm). “Minimal gritty blues... An acquired taste, but a true eccentric worthy of some documentation and attention.”
  • Frank van den Elzen, Popwatch #8. “It seemed that after the two 1994 CDs Jandek had buried his guitar for good... Like his last few, this is an all-acoustic affair. He doesn’t play full chords a lot this time around and concentrates on his famed extraterrestrial single-string melodies...”
  • Josh Ronsen, Monk Mink Pink Punk #4. “It’s mostly solo acoustic guitar and less than half the songs have vocals... Title themes include: Cognition (“Second Thoughts”, “Thinking”, “Wondering”, “What Should I Do”) and Movement (“Eternal Waltz”, “Walking the Park”, “Moon Dance” and “Approaching the City”)... I just enjoy the creepy, bluesy mystery of it all.”
  • uncredited, CMJ #490, September 1996. “One... theory holds that you can hear progress between albums, and that the aesthetic progression between [Ready for the House] and the present volume is like the distance from, say, Samuel Beckett’s early poems to his last prose pieces — a style going from eccentricity to bizarre purity... The guitar playing this time is mostly one or two notes at a time, untuned, all at a single tempo, unconnected by perceptible melody, with reverb that makes it sound like every note is being played exactly twice. The absolute extremity of these deathbed blues (near the beginning, Jandek sings that he has died; at the end, another song explains that he didn’t really die) suggests either an aesthetic pushed near its ultimate point or inhuman exhaustion.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “Heavy on instrumentals... Much of the time, Jandek seems to be pondering city life versus a nice trip in the country. ‘Walking in the Meadow’ is an interesting, and delicate, struggle through 7:45 of instrumental blues pickin’. ‘Evening Sun’ and ‘The Glade’ are melancholy memories back home in big-city Houston. ‘Approaching the City’ becomes heart-pounding anxiety... The droney instrumental ‘Eternal Waltz’ seems to be the artist resigned to his own internal world, but on the final track, he lets us know that he ‘Didn’t Really Die’.”
  • Gary “Pig” Gold, In Music We Trust #55 (December 2002). “I’m happy to report his relatively recent conversion to the digital domain doesn’t seem to have blunted his impact one single byte: his songs remain as starkly beautiful as a David Lynch opening shot, and the accompaniment (imagine handing your most ornery nine-year-old nephew a $29 guitar before locking him for three days in a windowless basement) remains as brutally poignant as ever.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Jandek is sporting some mean mutton-chops... The album is drenched in echo on the guitar, but not so it sounds rubbery. The mood is kinda lethargic, and very introspective. In fact, I'd call [this] the closest Jandek's come to a concept album, with doubt and mortality being the major themes and the white box representing what I think is a coffin. Songs have a sub-conscious quality about them, most of them are short and end abruptly, it takes about three or four listens before it really kicks in, and I'd advise listening with a portable device... killer... sublime... Jandek's best album of the 90’s.”

Corwood 0764

[album cover]

I WOKE UP

(CD, 1997)

Songs

First Awake Moment (2:26) / Alone on That Mountain (3:53) / I Can Not (4:03) / Get Back Inside (3:00) / Long Long (3:47) / Joab (2:40) / Equaled in Life (2:16) / Star of Zenith (3:55) / Take It Easy (2:09) / Just Die (3:53) / Pending Doom (1:15) / Sleepless Night (2:22) / Today (1:26)

Lyrics

Comments

Confounding. Who’s the ringer male vocalist who recites most of the songs deadpan, other times sounds like he’s doing a Jandek imitation? Why is the guitar, and sometimes the vocals too, practically smothered in science-fiction echo half the time? Didn’t Jandek stop doing goofy sing-song rhyming blues pieces like “Long Long” years ago? Why is there a drumkit on “Joab” and “Long Long”, a move not repeated before or since in the Corwood CD era? What’s with the fast strumming on “I Can Not” — is Jandek into skiffle now? Is that a hand drum on the chanted cut “Pending Doom”, or just a bucket or something? Does Jandek call the other vocalist “Mike” at 0:17 in “Today? What is the religious message at the end of “Today” doing in a track that’s mostly a bunch of mumbling and joking around? Is “Mike” a friend of Jandek’s from church? Just when Jandek’s oeuvre starts to make sense to you, something like this comes along...

Review excerpts

  • Josh Ronsen, N D #21. “Perhaps the strangest Jandek on digital format to date... Jandek usually sounds guilty to me, but of what I can’t fathom. Maybe something is hidden under the seat cushions on the couch that adorns the cover. Not for those who faint at exposure to (rubbed) raw spirit.”
  • Fred Mills, Magnet #31. “More existential twang, strum, holler, and moan. Of course, a shylock like Will Oldham gets laid a lot when he pulls this trick, so it’s patently unfair that Texas recluse Jandek doesn’t get those same dumpy groupies.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “This is a peculiar and special disc from Jandek, upbeat and focused on his harmonica playing! His experiments with higher guitar tunings also continue, which contrasts nicely with his voice which age has lowered... the voice is no longer the fragile young man of the early 1980s. Jandek is still seemingly disconnected from the so-called real-world, but now he at least seems comfortable in front of his tape recorder. ‘Get Back Inside’ is a surprising duet for harmonica and what sounds like pump organ playing a cowboy semi-polka ’round the campfire... ‘Impending Doom’: a bit of drum-kit rattle works as a short intro before Jandek breaks into a chanted vocal while beating insistently on a conga or bongo drum (just one). ‘Today’... ends abruptly with the declaration: ‘God is now alive in the world today.’ Has Jandek been ‘saved’; ‘woke up’?”
  • Gary “Pig” Gold, In Music We Trust #55 (December 2002). “Houston’s best-kept musical secret pulls out his trusty harmonica and confronts, tackles, and ultimately leaves for dead the entire damnable singer/songwriter idiom... “Alone On That Mountain,” the second song on this characteristically disturbing disc, begins a seven-song suite of horrific music-making which concludes with the suspectfully healthy advice, “Take It Easy.” Yeah, right... I Woke Up is but another installment in an on-going body of work absolutely without equal in the Uneasy Listening annals.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “If any record represents the ‘postcards from the depths of a suburban wasteland’ period, then [this] is it. It seems that there is a guest vocalist on the album, some ‘bloke’ with a deadpan voice who could be an institutionalized beatnik... There's lots of jagged harmonica and that annoying piano-accordion. Delayed guitars, more bizarre deadpan vocals by ‘the bloke.&rsquo... so fucked up as to be ridiculous, but... not without... charms.”

Corwood 0765

[album cover]

NEW TOWN

(CD, 1998)

Songs

New Town (4:14) / Steal Away Home (4:31) / Street Walk (3:45) / You Standing There (3:27) / Desert Voice (4:36) / Let Me Hear the Words You Say (3:24) / The Real You (2:27) / It Would Only Be Action (4:10) / Look At It (3:36) / Time Will Come (2:50) / What You Are (3:46)

Lyrics

Cover

Nice clear color photo of the same drumkit that has graced previous covers. It looks to me like an old photo, not a current one, perhaps from the same roll of film as the cover of Interstellar Discussion — even the chair is the same. I think he accidentally put a white bedsheet in the laundry with a red shirt: behold, curtains! (Drawn of course.)

Comments

This one hasn’t much caught my ear yet. Perhaps further listening will increase my appreciation, but I wonder if the style Jandek has been exploring since 1993’s was just yielding diminishing returns by this point. If Jandek himself felt so too, that might explain the casting around for new directions on the album before this one and the two after. Note also the lyrics to “What You Are”, which find Jandek in a mood of questioning and reconsidering his life, art, and audience.

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 1998. “It features our man in acoustic mode, harshly stroking his guitar in a manner that suggests not penny of investment has been proposed towards technical advancement. The live-room, hiss-relevant recording quality is still omnipresent and if you were feeling good about your contemporary fortune it’s quite possibly that this album holds wordage of universal truth. Once again.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “...in his ‘usual’ style, although the lyrics now seem more personal than simply depressed. A couple of exceptions to the vibe this time: the jagged instrumental ‘Street Walk’, and what sounds like Jandek pounding on the back of his guitar while singing and playing harmonica on ‘Time Will Come’.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Interesting to note the amount of ambient hiss on this record compared to most of his ’90’s output. While there really isn't anything new going on here, there are some nice moments...”

Corwood 0766

[album cover]

THE BEGINNING

(CD, 1999)

Songs

It’s February (2:04) / You Standing There (3:05) / I Never Left You Anyway (4:00) / Moving Slow (3:58) / Falling Down Deep (4:32) / Lonesome Bridge (4:00) / A Dozen Drops (6:17) / The Beginning (15:29)

Lyrics

Cover

Another really dark photo of a drumkit in a room with drawn curtains, very much like the cover of On the Way — could easily be from the same roll of film.

Data

“You Standing There” is another version of a song from New Town. The last track is a solo piano performance (no vocals) on an almost confrontationally out-of-tune piano.

Review excerpts

  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “Yet another start for Jandek... ‘Hello,’ he sings, ‘it’s February.’ For the title tune, Jandek spends fifteen and a half minutes alone on piano! No vocals either. His hammering chords at the high end of the keyboard sometimes sound close to his hard-strum guitar, but the more melodic moments, especially the lower notes, are new sounds for this artist. By virtue of the instrument, Jandek sounds more ‘in tune’ than usual, but listen for those passages where he combines chords to somehow create bell-like sounds, or the high-end ‘crazy’ freak-out stuff that he uses very sparingly. The overall mood of the piece is somber, ‘classical’ in a broad stylistic sense, with free-style flourishes that are maybe unconscious. Pretty great.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...a fine return to the 'pure' Jandek sounds of Six and Six, the production is murky, vocals thick with reverb and the guitars plunk and strut along in a bluesy swagger... the biggest farewell to the 21st century comes with his reality-twisting-Black Hole that is the title track. A fifteen minute dirge on a new instrument — the piano — that sounds like the first thrill you got when you played a piano as a kid and you thought you could play flashy all over the keyboard like Johnny Johnson or Jerry Lee Lewis or Liberace. Jandek actually plays the piano with the same manic gusto that he plays guitar, occasionally bashing it, occasionally finding moments of beauty. It reminds me a bit of Sun Ra's playing on ‘Gods on Safari’... ”

Corwood 0767

[album cover]

PUT MY DREAM ON THIS PLANET

(CD, 2000)

Songs

I Need Your Life (28:43) / It’s Your House (22:14) / I Went Outside (1:17)

Lyrics

Cover

It’s very dark and murky, but: I see a figure, presumably Jandek, in white shirtsleeves, seated, with his forearms crossed, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. He appears to be wearing a black hat with a brim, and those are probably stairs in the background. He’s brooding.

Data

No instruments, just Jandek on solo voice, believe it or not!

Comments

Since Twelfth Apostle (1993) Jandek’s mostly been playing his emotional cards closer to his chest — in withdrawing from working with other musicians, his tone has become more distanced and oblique. But then this dramatic reversal — “I Need Your Life” in particular is naked and desperate. You feel that you shouldn’t listen, or can’t. I haven’t dared to play it a second time yet.

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2001. “It’s certainly a head-scratcher. No guitar, no drums, no piano, just him rambling on for a small eternity in a sort of song/speech mode... all of it sounding kind of like it was recorded though a 15 watt Peavey Bandit amp with a broken reverb spring and a noise-gate pedal. Eerie (some might say annoying or god awful), almost bluesy hiss bathed vocals are separated by some rather lengthy periods of complete silence, covering some of the places and ‘feelings’ that populate his other records so vividly. Reading into it a bit (for in this place everything means something), we see that his last record ended with ‘The Beginning’ (!) — a 15+ vocal-less (!) piano ‘meditation’ which certainly clouded the waters when it dropped — which can now be viewed as an intro to this new acapella recording...you get the idea. So then, as concrete poetry it’s not so hot, and as some kind of Out Blues piece, it’s actually rather dire, but viewed in the microscope of the Jandekian Canon, it’s pretty massive, and that’s saying something too.”
  • Eddie Flowers. Quoted at The History of Rock Music, Vol. 4 (website). “A startling album of stark-naked music from the man who has been trying to bare all since he started recording in the late 1970s. Using only his voice, Jandek literally begs for understanding for nearly 29 minutes on “I Need Your Life”. He’s never sounded so Texan, or so completely immersed in the kind of ultra-personal blues music that existed before the 1930s. In this acapella setting, his emotions run free, and he speaks from painfully deep places... Jandek puts on his shoes for the last song, “I Went Outside,” but once out there, he finds only snow and ice. His venture into the outside world ends abruptly after only a minute-seventeen. If you’ve ever followed Jandek’s uncomfortable journey into his own head, this is essential listening.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “Very disturbing, and not in a good way.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Jandek is going through his abstract expressionist stage. Sure it's acapella, though it seems that Jandek has edited chunks of vocals in a Burroughsian lyrical cut-up style. It's hard listening, considering there's only 3 tracks and two of them go for over 20 minutes. But the most interesting thing to note is the fact that the voice has changed. Obviously there was a long break in recording — maybe for the whole '90's? — but here Jandek sounds like a guy who's at least in his late '40's, compared to the 20-30 something that appeared on nearly all his previous recordings.”

Corwood 0768

[album cover]

THIS NARROW ROAD

(CD, 2001)

Songs

One Last Chance (29:21) / Killer Cats in the Caribbean (3:05) / Yes You Are (2:44) / The Name I Had (3:30) / I Need To Be (2:03) / Pieces of Place (3:29) / Never Never Never (1:05) / Just Like the Floor (2:20) / Ten O’Clock Shadows (2:48) / Come Over Here (1:06) / Frosted Field (1:02) / I Knew About Them (3:34)

Lyrics

Cover

Faded color photo of a young Jandek standing posed in front of an interior doorway and smiling at the camera. (Yes, smiling!) How young is very hard to tell.

Comments

Another all solo voice CD.

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2001. “I have no idea what to say.”
  • George Parsons, Dream Magazine #3. “Opening with ‘One Last Chance’ which is just a few seconds shy of half an hour, and features the voice of Jandek giving chilling sing-songy readings to his thoughts, with no musical accompaniment. He pleads to god, the void or just himself, for the titular subject matter. The sound of someone at the end of their rope; and not that much different from anyone else in such a situation; but such hopeless circles of thought are seldom uttered out loud, let alone, recorded. Looking at himself in detached judgment and not liking what he sees. The cumulative effect is grueling and mesmerizing. The remaining eleven tracks are much shorter and range from poems to songs and something very like prayers... ‘I Need To Be’ is actually quite poppy, and has a memorable melody line, though it’s broken up by the stop/start nature of his recording method. The single strongest track may well be ‘Just Like the Floor’, which is like a concise poetic sensory psychodrama.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “These two a capella albums debunk the myth that Jandek recorded all of his albums during an excessively manic period of his life, as the voice which utters and lolligags through the stream of consciousness verbage has clearly aged from the wispy juvenile voice found on Ready For The House to hold a more grizzled delivery that is eerily similar to Charles Manson.”
  • Nick Phillips. “Mystery White Boy”, City Pages, Vol. 22, #1087 (10/3/2001). “So are these new albums any good? Well, good and bad are strange terms to be using in relation to Jandek records. But listening to them, I can’t help being a little disappointed. Lyrically they seem weak — sadly obsessive, with none of the traumatic imagery that made his earlier work so arresting. This Narrow Road’s 29-minute opener is perhaps the nadir: a stream-of-consciousness rant that sucks all the complexity out of the Jandek myth. The song chooses instead to play the scary-weirdo card: ‘Let them die, they all deserve, let them die/ It ain’t like killing/ It’s annihilation, extermination, elimination/ Eliminate the bad.’ Yet part of me wonders whether my complaints have anything to do with these new albums — if, in fact, my incompatibility with Jandek is not his fault but my own. I’ve escaped the mess of suburban sprawl and retreated to the happy calm of the countryside. My head no longer cluttered, I don’t find Jandek’s current pathology illuminating: unmasked, it suddenly sounds single-minded and, well, pathetic. Maybe, with my newfound contentment, I’m no longer able to access the depths of feeling concealed within Jandek’s music. That, even more than his music, would be truly terrifying.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...continues the cut-up vocal trend, the pieces are shorter, and come off more like vocal ballads...”

Other commentary

  • Thomas Nondorf, in E-mail. “[Nick Phillips’] review... is almost intentionally misleading. It says Jandek plays the ‘scary weirdo card’ and quotes lines from ‘One Last Chance’ out of context. A simple look at the lyrics shows J is talking about killing the bad things in his life that are bringing him down, not going on a killing spree or something.” [Note: I agree. — ST]

Corwood 0769

[album cover]

WORTHLESS RECLUSE

(CD, 2001)

Songs

The Clothes (1:09) / In the Cave (5:53) / Out of the Cave (4:34) / Stopped (2:14) / Interlude (1:57) / The Dunes (1:29) / Aimless Breeze (2:00) / You Wake Up Deadmen (3:30) / Worthless Recluse (17:10) / Lofty Rider (1:25) / The Stars Spell Your Name (2:17) / Your Turn (1:31) / You Won’t Get Up (1:12)

Lyrics

Cover

Teenage Jandek stands in a barnyard. His hair is cropped short; the photo looks roughly contemporaneous with the Lost Cause cover photo. Bales of hay are stacked in the barn and a cat is emerging from the barn door. Jandek’s wearing a gray cardigan sweater and the lapel points of his white shirt are sticking out. His hands are in his pockets. I’m guessing from the setting and from the relatively formal clothes that this photo might have been taken during a holiday visit to a farmer relative.

Comments

Another all solo voice CD.

Review excerpts

  • George Parsons, Dream Magazine #3. “Once upon a time we had a few phone conversations that were as honest and uncompromised as any of his recordings; it’s a shame that he shuns the public eye... but it’s also good to say nothing as well... So he ends up being the work, which is maybe all any artist really should be after all... These pieces are part spoken word, part musicless song, but the musical pauses are there... It becomes a dialogue of this guy with himself, even if the songs may be directed outward like letters to loved and hated friends, they are all multifaceted grey mirrors of this solitary soul. There is no shame or cornabll acting antics in his readings, he sounds true and transcendentally human, fractured and flawed. I wish I could say I didn’t relate to this as much as I do...”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002?. “Unfortunately fulfills the self-effacing title, as the Texan hermit offers his third album of a capella ‘songs’ and poetic readings. As difficult as they may have been to listen to, his arrangements for questionably competent guitar picking and stumbling drums are sorely missed. While these a capella albums are at the bottom of the Jandek catalogue, he has been mucking about with his 4 track giving a few interesting ‘effects’ upon his voice. But that’s all...”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...does away with any tunefulness and goes for straight ahead spoken word inter-galactic beat poetry... Why this hasn't been taken more seriously by the spoken-words/poetry scene as a major work is a travesty of the highest order.”

Corwood 0770

[album cover]

I THREW YOU AWAY

(CD, 2002)

Songs

Blues Turned Black (12:14) / It Seems Forever (7:39) / I Threw You Away (8:10) / Frozen Beauty (11:50) / The World Stops (9:01)

Lyrics

Cover

A deserted residential city street in Europe on an overcast day. Members of the Jandek list have identified the building at the end of the street as The Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne in Cork City, Ireland. The street is probably Roman Street, and the road sign may read “Luimneach/LIMERICK” and “An Bhlarna/BLARNEY”. The style of license plate on the cars indicates that the photo was probably taken in the late 80’s or earlier.

Comments

Yet another new beginning for Jandek. This returns to the familiar format of voice and acoustic guitar (plus a few minutes of harmonica), but in a new, distinct, and compelling style. It sounds a little like a cross between Six and Six (1981) and Blue Corpse (1987) — at least, it reminds me more of those two albums than of the more recent solo acoustic discs. Hoping it doesn’t put too much weight on the comparison, I will expand. It’s as bleak as either of them, and as difficult as the earlier, but like the later album the guitar is mostly strummed not picked and the songs are longer and more developed instead of starting up and shutting down abruptly. It definitely sounds like Jandek strumming, though, and not like the more “talented”, conventional guitarist on Blue Corpse. On vocals, Jandek does a lot of that thing where he makes his voice go way up high, pitches sliding everywhere, “crooning” if you will, which I associate with the singing on Blue Corpse (even though there it was a different singer!). Overall, it’s more open emotionally than most of his discs from the CD era, not counting some long let-it-all-hang-out stretches on the spoken word discs; the music’s mood creeps over you like cold fog. Best Jandek disc since Glad to Get Away?

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2001. “A return to form album... on this album, the Blues turn Black.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2002. “Jandek preceded I Threw You Away with three a capella / spoken word albums that were ultimately forgettable detours from his signature sound of damaged folk music. Here, the Texan mystery man has returned to the open chord guitar strum and meandering finger picking techniques while he unleashes that desolate moan of a voice revealing staggering visions of any number of inescapable existential truths. Musically, I Threw You Away is a very obtuse (even for Jandek!) maze of untuned acoustic dissonance and emotional caterwauling.”
  • Byron Coley, Signal To Noise, Winter 2003. “...a cracked masterpiece of cat-scratch-acoustic-guitar and blue-tongued howling. The opening cut, a 12 minute-plus dirge entitled ‘Blues Turned Black’ (akin to a one man recreation of Patty Waters’ live version of ‘Black is the Color’) sets the mood. As the guitar scrabbles around the edges of its self-defined cell-of-meat, the vocals release gusts of heart-borne anguish that are wildly articulate without approaching vocal/lyrical specificity. If you give yourself over to it, this piece will haul you down into the depths of the well of despond more artfully, more fully, then ’most anything else imaginable. It’s like mainlining grief. The three shorter pieces traverse parallel tracks. They visit the butcher shop of the soul, walk through a graveyard of living flowers, and stare at the remains of an abandoned basement, while the acoustic strings bleed detuned open chord note-drops, and a harmonica rises out of an animal’s forgotten corpse. The other long track, ‘Frozen Beauty’, is a meditation on the semiotic distance between reality-itself and the image of reality, power-moaned through a cascade of circular guitar figures. It is the piece here that is perhaps most reminiscent of Jandek’s early recordings, as sad as a pillowcase full of photographs of dead lovers. But for all of its dolor, it seems to me that I Threw You Away (a repeating lyric motif that first occurs in ‘It Seems Forever’) represents a new beginning for Jandek, following the utter hermetic desolation of the three last albums. For we who love this guy’s material and its coding and the sense it gives of creating its own portable cloister, such a reinstatement of relative pop construction is welcome. Jandek’s music is so enigmatic that it often seems to be as much the creation of the listener as the player. So when he himself appears to be trapped beyond the boundaries of despair-as-we-know-it, serious listeners can also find themselves transported beyond the reach of salvation. And that’s not always good, but it is perhaps a key to understanding the splendid interior corridors that Jandek alone seems capable of accessing...”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “The death rattle guitar from Ready for the House kicks-off proceedings for about 40 seconds, before Jandek... starts to HOOOOWWWWLLL and MOOOOAAANNNN lyrics about loss, death and any other negativity. Tracks are long with none under 7 minutes that frequently blur into long dirges. The album title speaks for itself, and you might just do the same to it.”

Corwood 0771

[album cover]

THE HUMILITY OF PAIN

(CD, 2002)

Songs

The Humility of Pain (7:21) / Work of Art (4:46) / I Stepped Out of It (5:33) / I Want to Look In (6:38) / I Can’t Leave a Clue (4:43) / Share My Life (6:45) / You Know You Need (5:38)

Lyrics

Cover

Second vacation snapshot in a row. This one’s an alley: dark, cramped, and crooked. Ireland again?

Comments

Still listening, but initially it sounds similar to the last one. They definitely are a pair that stand apart from the others. But: shorter (though still long-ish) songs, no harmonica this time, and the guitar is more jangly and dissonant, lots of clashing ringing high frequencies. It’s lower on the lulling melancholy, higher on the in-your-face suffering. In the vocals Jandek will draw out the last word of a line into a long wounded moan, letting the pitch of his voice wander up and down, hitting all the most pained-sounding cracks between the notes, pulling the listener into his head with him. Other times he pushes the listener away again with lyrics delivered in a lazy sarcastic you-wouldn’t-understand drawl. This one hurts you as much as it hurt Jandek.

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “This album continues from I Threw You Away. Not much new going on here, though Jandek is starting to sound like a really drunk hobo.”

Corwood 0772

[album cover]

THE PLACE

(CD, 2003)

Songs

The Picture (9:25) / The Place (7:03) / The Highway (6:28) / The Answer (4:31) / The Stumble (8:55)

Lyrics

Cover

The building on the left, reflected in a shop window, is identifiable by comparison with other photographs as the Odeon Theatre in Chester, England. Another vacation snapshot, apparently. Jason Cooley points out that the mannequins in the window display “are the only other human figures” ever to show up on a Jandek album cover, in fact, “the only other living creature to ever appear was the cat on Worthless Recluse”.

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “I don't mind this record, it's another concept album. Jandek introduces a bit of harmonica and experiments with his vocals which at times sound ‘sultry’... Then, he tries to sound like some sort of Irishman. Highlights are ‘The Highway’ with its chilling psycho-noir ambience, and ‘The Answer’ which has a middle 8.6675432321 that sounds like early, damaged Sonic Youth.”

Corwood 0773

[album cover]

THE GONE WAIT

(CD, 2003)

Songs

I Went to Hell (6:39) / I See the Open Door (6:04) / I Was a King (10:24) / I Just Might Go Now (10:27) / I Found the Right Chance (6:00)

Data

Vocals and... bass! (I had thought it was upright bass, but an experienced bass player tells me it sounds like fretless electric bass guitar to him. This is plausible given that Jandek played a fretless electric guitar onstage in Brooklyn in 2005.)

Comments

The bass suits him. The low sounds are like a cool bath after the harsh high end of the last few.

Lyrics

Cover

More mannequins in another shop window. There are no identifiable reflected buildings in this one.

Data

“The Gone Wait” was the name of a song on Twelfth Apostle.

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Another musical chapter begin, as Jandek puts down the guitar and picks up a bass. It's always interesting to note that each new instrument Jandek picks up sounds like not only is he playing it for the first time, but more importantly, discovering the SONIC POSSIBILITIES of the instrument in a totally fresh light. The bass playing here is totally detuned, and sounds like it's probably a fretless electric. It might sound like Mingus, and it might sound like Fernando Saunders if he wasn't so... happy. Jandek plunks the bass much like he does the guitar, often playing double notes, but not in the way Peter Hook does it. He moans, though in a more sedate manner, giving the record a very downbeat, narcotic jazz feel.”

Corwood 0774

[album cover]

SHADOW OF LEAVES

(CD, 2004)

Songs

Shadow of Leaves (29:02) / Find Me Again (6:15) / I Give You Me (5:04)

Lyrics

Cover

Jandek posed at the edge of a forest, in a not very outdoorsy all-black Johnny Cash outfit that’s too big for him. He’s smiling, squinting into the sun a little, hands in his pockets. The picture-taker puts the camera away and they continue strolling together through the trees. But are they alone? Pierre Sandgren was the first to notice that the picture has been altered using Photoshop or similar software. Scandal!! Some of the trees along the top are duplicates of each other, and the photo appears to have been doctored in other places as well, for example around the figure’s legs at the bottom edge and around the left shoulder (his left, our right). Even the head has a certain pasted-on look that could be the result of manipulation. Was there originally more than one person in this photograph?

Comments

Jandek plays bass again, claims to “no longer exist,” sings about drinking “mechanically produced beverages,” and announces plans to “think about breathing.” Recently he took a walk. The music seems improvised but is satisfyingly varied and tracks the varying moods of the vocals closely. During the long piece, moments of abjection or desperation occur, but they pass; mostly the voice we hear is lucid. He’s leveling with us. When he sings “I won’t drive my car for the rest of the day,” it’s a fact. The most harrowing moment comes during the last track, a love song that turns threatening: “please take my bait... I want to eat you up... you’ll never get away, you won’t want to... you don’t have a life, you live in me.” The music plunges down to the bottom of the bass’s range, but by the last line, the point of view has pulled back again to encompass “the grand scheme of things.”

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...opening number... is a 29 minute opus of sloth like proportions as his bass waddles along aimlessly with the vocals. Closer ‘I Give You Me’ has Jandek momentarily trying to pop the strings like Doug Wimbish, before he delivers those sort of ‘you're a loser and I'm going to fuck with your head’ type lyrics that Lydia Lunch and Henry Rollins made careers out of.”

Corwood 0775

[album cover]

THE END OF IT ALL

(CD, 2004)

Songs

One of Those Moments (20:15) / I Hadn’t Been There Before (5:49) / They Don’t Matter At All (5:36) / I Met You (8:12)

Lyrics

Cover

A head shot of Jandek in profile, in formal wear, blank expression, eyes downcast, tension in his jaw. From the sharply defined shadow on the wall he’s standing next to it’s a flash photo. Probably this is a small section of a larger photo. Maybe he’s in the crowd at a wedding reception... or a funeral. This is Jandek today; the resemblance to the live photos from Scotland is very strong.

Data

Voice and electric guitar. The vocals are consistent with the last five. The guitar sound is new, but resembles an electrified (and fairly clear-toned) version of the playing on Corwoods 0771 and 0772.

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “I'm not sure if these next few albums were made before he performed live, if so, then they are perfect primers for the power and intensity his subsequent live shows would display. Jandek straps on the guitar again — this time an electric with a flange effect — making him sound like James Blood Ulmer, or maybe the guy from the Police. Another 20-minute opus, ‘One of Those Moments’ goes into serious Sonic Youth territory and is his best musical moment for nearly 4 years. His singing has more conviction, with the lyrics sounding like the memoirs of a corporate-nobody (ghost?) trying to connect with other 'humans' on some sort of intimate level. The album as a whole 'rocks' more.”

Corwood 0776

[album cover]

THE DOOR BEHIND

(CD, 2004)

Songs

Do You Want Me (6:09) / Gate Strikes One (8:52) / I’m Not That Good (6:18) / The Slow Burn (6:16) / It’s Only You (6:03) / Every Sentence (9:36)

Lyrics

Cover

If you thought Jandek was a hairball on the cover of White Box Requiem, wait until you see this one. He looks like a White Panther or a castaway on a desert island. He is glaring sullenly at a point a thousand miles behind the cameraman’s head and on his face is the most absolute possible imaginable absence of a smile. Bet you anything the rest of his family is off to the right.

Data

This album, following hot on the heels of Jandek’s live performance in Scotland, is his third release of 2004, and it’s not even November yet. Suddenly Jandek is irrepressible. The lyrics don’t match any of the songs from the live show. It’s voice and electric guitar — definitely of a piece with the last one, musically.

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “Electric flange-guitar is still the sonic cause of events, songs are shorter and more sedate than The End of It All, making it a bit of a more difficult listen.”

Corwood 0777

[album cover]

A KINGDOM HE LIKES

(CD, 2004)

Songs

I Gave My Eternity (10:58) / Real Afternoons (5:32) / A Windy Time (3:10) / Your Own Little World (4:35) / Sticks in the Marsh (4:32) / No One Knows Your Name (3:38) / It Rang Eleven Times (3:50)

Lyrics

Cover

A contemporary Jandek, looking not unlike the man that played in Scotland, though that one was clean shaven.

Data

Jandek’s fourth new album of 2004.

Review excerpts

  • Kevin John, The Village Voice (http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0510,john,61827,22.html), March 8, 2005. “Both Jandek and Milli Vanilli taught semiotics as expertly as Umberto Eco... and both were quintessential products of the 1980s. What better way to respond to supply-side Reaganomics than with a music that places all the action on the consumer demand side of the equation... But as the man starts coming out of the closet more and more, his music must now distinguish him from any other sad-sack singer-songwriter out there. And the stream-of-consciousness DIY folk-blues in this kingdom cannot retain interest much longer.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...finds Jandek reflecting on his ‘fame’ and thinking long and hard about the ‘modern world&rsquo, even technology...”

Corwood 0778

[album cover]

WHEN I TOOK THAT TRAIN

(CD, 2005)

Songs

I Talked to You Today (4:07) / When I See You Again (2:52) / The Image of You (3:27) / Close to You (3:22) / You Took Me for a Ride (4:13) / What Else Is There (2:16) / Wouldn’t You Agree (3:22) / You Made Me Know It (2:45) / Angel Moves (3:43) / Thing Called Me (5:43) / My Escape (6:50)

Lyrics

Cover

Another fairly contemporary, bearded Jandek, sporting a hat and tan suit. He looks younger and less thin than on A Kingdom He Likes. It’s been raining and his feet and legs are reflected in the wet pavement. Is that an umbrella in his left hand? Even though he’s standing in a public square in the center of London, the photo is strangely empty of other human figures. (At least, it gives that impression; actually, you can pick out a few people behind him.) Who took this photo, a friend, or a passerby? The building with the pillars is Mansion House, official residence of the Lord Mayor of London (not to be confused with the regular mayor). See http://www.lynns_postcards.gaulin.com/cheapside.jpg for a vintage postcard view. The tube stop in the background is Bank; the ironwork in the left foreground forms part of another entrance. (There is a Mansion House house stop, but strangely, it is several minutes’ walk away.) Closed circuit TV cameras survey the scene from overhead. The building on the right houses Mappin and Webb jewelers; note the Christmas trees above the entrance. The building was empty after about 1986 and was demolished in 1993 or 1994. After an archaelogical dig (the site was inhabited in Roman times), a new building was erected in 1998. The cars are 1980’s cars, so the photo must be from the mid or perhaps early 1980’s.

Comments

See Paul Condon’s commentary at http://mylist.net/archives/jandek/2005-March/001080.html.

Review excerpts

Corwood 0779

[album cover]

GLASGOW SUNDAY

(CD, 2005)
(DVD, 2006)

Songs

Not Even Water (10:24) / Where I Stay (7:29) / Darkness You Give (9:37) / Sea of Red (7:50) / Real Wild (6:25) / Don’t Want to Be (5:55) / Blue Blue World (6:42) / The Other Side (6:48)

Lyrics

Cover

Another snapshot of a street with a church at the end (see also I Threw You Away). Judging from the cars, the photo was probably taken in the 1980’s. The car in the foreground looks American, but I can’t conclusively place the street on a particular side of the Atlantic. Anyone recognize the church?

Data (CD)

Credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: THE ARCHES GLASGOW SCOTLAND OCTOBER 17, 2004.” See the Concerts page for details on the performance. The rhythm section of Richard Youngs (bass) and Alexander Neilson (drums) is uncredited. The audio quality is a bit better than the audience recording that started circulating on the net shortly after the show, but they both have audience chatter audible from time to time during the music. The applause after each song is included. The CD was available in Scotland a couple weeks before copies surfaced in the U.S.; a note from Corwood received mid-April 2005 explained, “Corwood 0779 Glasgow Sunday has been prereleased in Scotland. It will be released in the USA the last week of April.”

Data (DVD)

“Aspect Ratio: 4:3”, the back cover informs us. No squashed or elongated Jandeks, please. You can choose to watch Camera 1, Camera 2, or a “2 camera mix edit”. Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the songs that were performed.

Comments (DVD)

See http://mylist.net/archives/jandek/2006-June/002897.html for commentary by Danen Jobe.

Review excerpts (CD)

  • Scott Mou, Other Music web site (http://www.othermusic.com/), 2005. “Blood curdling live set... Jandek displays surprising force and confidence, seemingly hammering away at the guitar with a closed fist while accompanied by Richard Youngs on bass and local kindred spirit, Alex Neilson, masterfully stuttering alongside Jandek on the drums. Unlike the bootleg floating around the Internet, the drums and vocals mesh together well in the forefront, while the bass drone/throb and rattled cage guitar fall back... Enthusiastic applause also included. ”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2005. “No matter what your opinion is of Jandek’s decision to make a public appearance, this recording is fantastic. Youngs and Neilson keep their input strictly as a rhythm section, never to upstage Jandek himself. Throughout the entire set, Youngs keeps his bass within a controlled variation of an elliptical throb and Neilson does the quiet tumble down the stairs thing on the drum kit. But it’s Jandek who really shines. His strangulated blues chords have the same jangling atonality of his earliest records... and his deepened baritone voice snakes through his signature revelatory darkness... If Jandek’s going to come out of his shell to make records this good, who are we to complain!?”
  • David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue catalog (link), 2005. “...the first public appearance of his 26 year recording career, simultaneously quashing three decades worth of speculation while inspiring a whole bunch more. But the main thing that makes Glasgow Sunday such an important document has less to do with how it relates to Smith’s personal mythos and more to do with how it inaugurates a group that already looks to be one of the most formally inventive units of the modern age. Between them, the trio... have birthed a free music with an internal dynamic and shared musical language as singular and historically unparalleled as late-20th century behemoths like Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity trio, Keiji Haino’s Fushitsusha, Harry Pussy, and Musica Transonic. Crucially, Glasgow Sunday is a group record... The first time they ever played together was actually earlier on the same day of the concert... [but] the terms of their musical relationship were sealed the instant they began to play. Smith’s current guitar form is most immediately related to the series of recordings he made between 1982 and 1987... [that] were characterised by bouts of ferocious atonal guitar. But here he digs deeper and harder into the magic confluence of overtones encouraged by the more esoteric open tunings. His chords sound like they’re augmented with barbed wire and his soloing &mdashl of which there’s plenty — is somewhere between Keiji Haino’s dense, clean guitar work on Fushitsusha’s John Zorn-produced album Allegorical Misunderstanding, and Harry Pussy guitarist Bill Orcutt circa ‘Nazi USA’. Youngs plays electric bass with a tremolo pulse that sounds a bit like Holger Czukay and the way he pilots odd, beautiful notes straight to the heart of the individual tracks is particularly fearless. Drummer Alex Neilson is the real wildcard. In recent years he has become the most in-demand improvising drummer in Scotland and his playing here is particularly key in terms of defining the basic heft of the sound. Beyond even the bizarre physical resemblance — several people on the night asked if it was Jandek’s son that was playing the drums — there’s obviously a deep level of rapport between the two and during the instrumental breaks Smith seems to be soloing more in relation to Neilson’s tonal and rhythmic suggestions than Youngs’ harmonic ones... Neilson takes it upon himself to push the music somewhere else, alternating explosive polyrhythms with moments of pure textural abandon and accelerated breaks. At one point he even stands up and starts to sing. As with every Jandek project, Glasgow Sunday feels like an extended investigation into a single colour or state... emotionally, lyrically and sonically. Each track draws its deepest architecture from archetypal blues forms, with vocal lulls alternating with extended chord solos and emphatic rhythms. Like the late Albert Ayler, Jandek has a way of hijacking the basest/purest of folk-forms and extrapolating them into the heavens — or in this case, personal hells. Lyrically there are several references to water, seas and drowning, lots of reds and blues, and some of the tracks are unrelentingly bleak, reading like long, airless litanies of hurt. But there’s also plenty of black humour and at points you can’t help but feel that Jandek is poking fun at his own image and playing to the crowd. The moment when he erupts with the line ‘I made the decision to get real wild’ sees the whole audience explode into cheers... Who would’ve thought it? Jandek, it turns out, is a group.”
  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...like all great artists they eventually gotta do the live album... An amorphous surging, coagulating blob of a live performance, Jandek's electrified death-rattle guitar is immediately reminiscent of Rowland S. Howard's playing on... live Birthday Party. But fortunate for Jandek is the fact that he has a totally cooking backing-band help elevate his sound above junkie skronk (which it still is, mind you) into some sort of free-jazz-rock-implosion with lyrics... ‘Real Wild’... builds and builds and builds in Jandek's water-treading death-knell-guitar style, before he pauses to tell us: ‘I made a decision... to get REAL WILD!’ before collapsing in on itself like a Black Hole. Who said he can't rock out like the best of them? Glasgow Sunday is a great, great live, real time document of the improvised miasma of Jandek, distilled and purified for his legions of fans to enjoy.”

Corwood 0780

[album cover]

RAINING DOWN DIAMONDS

(CD, 2005)

Songs

What Things Are (5:54) / I Stared (4:42) / It’s Forever (3:21) / You Ancient (3:58) / Take My Will (8:24) / New Rendezvous (9:37) / Your Visitor (8:16)

Lyrics

Cover

Cover appears to blurrily depict Jandek on a youthful pilgrimage to Mecca.

Data

“Take My Will” is a reprise of a song from Glad to Get Away (1994).

Comments

Voice and bass.

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever. “...maybe Jandek is making some obscure statement about Islamic fundamentalism or something? He's back to playing his muted-free-form bass again, though here his voice sounds neurotic, fearful, and terrified. He's actually trying to play the bass more, rather than just slap and scratch it, so the overall sonics of the album are far warmer than previous bass-only records. It's easily his best 'bass' album, and his jazziest to boot... Extended closing tracks ‘New Rendezvous’ and ‘Your Visitor’ throb and undulate into infinity, ending perfectly with a whimper.”

Corwood 0781

[album cover]

KHARTOUM

(CD, 2005)

Songs

You Wanted to Leave (6:36) / Fragmentation (5:53) / I Shot Myself (4:44) / New Dimension (5:16) / Khartoum (9:43) / In a Chair I Stare (5:50) / Move from the Mountain (7:55) / Fork in the Road (5:40)

Lyrics

Cover

A man who’s gouged his eyes out to get closer to the spirit world.

Data

Voice and acoustic guitar. See http://mylist.net/archives/jandek/2005-October/001992.html. You can read up on the city of Khartoum at at Wikipedia. It’s the capital of the Sudan; the government complicit in, if not outright responsible for, the genocide in Darfur is headquartered there. It’s also the location of the pharmaceutical factory Clinton ordered bombed in 1998 for allegedly supplying Osama bin Laden with ingredients for chemical weapons.

Comments

The guitar playing and sound here distinctly recall a pair of classics from 1994, Graven Image and Glad to Get Away. But it’s an updated version, bolder, more forceful, and incorporating some of the denser, harsher, janglier sound of the post-spoken-word guitar albums. To my ears, the playing combines the best aspects of the recent guitar albums and those from ten years ago. I’ve said elsewhere about the 2005 shows in Austin and Brooklyn that Jandek’s guitar playing is at a peak right now; you can hear that here as well.

    The title (in combination with the cover photo) create an expectation that the lyrics will reference current events. And sure enough, some lines in the first song seem to be about the World Trade Center: “I wanted to go to the spirit world/ But you were large, large, large, large/ Now you’re all powder/ Gone up in smoke/ Gone down in thunder/ You’re part of my dream...” It seems unmistakable, but there’s nothing else in that song or any song that references the same theme; it seems to be a metaphor he uses once and then discards. But then why “Khartoum”? Even the song of that name seems to be just another song about a woman who’s gone now. One song begins, “You’re married, I presume?” In another, Jandek confesses “I don’t know what to do except sit in a chair.”

Review excerpts

  • uncredited, Forced Exposure web site (http://www.forcedexposure.com/), 2005. “Fantastic, acoustic, classic Jandekian masterwork in the vein of his mid-period work Graven Image or Glad to Get Away.”
  • uncredited, Aquarius Records catalog (website), 2005. “...his music remains as raw and mysterious as ever... Khartoum consists of alienated, atonal strum-und-twang, teamed with loosely demented vocals, sometimes quietly spoken, sometimes pitched to a warbling holler, delivered with the stream of conciousness lyrical logic of a homeless poet. These songs... seem fixated on past (broken) relationships, forgiveness, regret, and despair... It’s a soul laid bare, speaking directly but in such an idiosyncratic manner that it will only be heard by those with a will to listen. Seriously, his scrabble of strings and chaotic chording provides almost a respite from his depressed words and sometimes excruciatingly miserable wail, one that at times reminds us of Oxbow’s Eugene Robinson.”

Corwood 0782

[album cover]

KHARTOUM VARIATIONS

(CD, 2006)

Songs

You Wanted to Leave (9:15) / Fragmentation (6:16) / I Shot Myself (6:42) / New Dimension (5:10) / Khartoum (8:14) / In a Chair I Stare (5:27) / Move from the Mountain (8:13)

Lyrics

Cover

The man from C.O.R.W.O.O.D. standing in front of Dublin Castle in Ireland; here’s an uncredited shot found online taken from a similar location and angle. Note that the cover photo has been altered along its left and right edges to omit adjacent sections of the structure, and two drainpipes seem to have been retouched out of existence.

Data

Alternate versions of the previous album’s songs, minus one.

Corwood 0783

[album cover]

NEWCASTLE SUNDAY

(2CD, 2006)
(DVD, 2006)

Songs

Disc 1: Depression (8:11) / Other End of Town (5:26) / Every Morning (6:59) / All of a Sudden (6:57) / Locked Up (4:33) / Put It Up (6:08) / Mangled and Dead (6:11); Disc 2: Some Other Name (6:20) / Telephone Blues (7:08) / Cottage in the Rain (6:35) / Sheba Doesn’t Have (8:48) / Shadow of the Clouds (11:17)

Lyrics

Cover

A long way from Newcastle: Dover Castle in southern England; see http://www.moonrise.ws/Pictures/Album-08/DoverWalls.jpg. (Thanks to Ian Hill for making the connection.)

Data (CD)

The first ever double CD from Corwood. Credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: THE SAGE GATESHEAD ENGLAND MAY 22, 2005.” See the Concerts page for details on the performance. The rhythm section of Richard Youngs (bass) and Alexander Neilson (drums) is uncredited. The guitar and vocals are mixed rather loud, so you may wish to listen on headphones, and/or boost the bass response on your stereo, in order to fully appreciate Youngs’ and Neilson’s contributions.

Data (DVD)

“Aspect Ratio: 4:3”, says the back. You can choose to watch Camera 1 or Camera 2; there is no “2 camera mix edit” this time. Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the songs that were performed.

Review excerpts

  • Aaron Goldberg, web review for Perfect Sound Forever (actually a review of an audience recording of the concert, before the official release came out). “...as good, if not better than the Instal/Glasgow Sunday one... flange-guitar strum, noodle jazz bass and free-flowing drums, sounding not unlike the Jimi Hendrix Experience on qualuudes. But there's definitely a ‘funk’ going on in this set, before Jandek opens his mouth and says ‘I thought I'd give you... a little bit of DEPRESSION!!!!’ That's right, the man has made a fucken anthem for the Prozac-nation... The set continues a downward looping spiral lyrics-wise as Jandek sings about the electric chair, trying to find friends, and being a loser-in-life in general. But the synergy between the players here is even better than Glasgow Sunday producing some of the most intense, challenging and incredibly FRESH avant-garde music going today... the deep dark hole that he's been digging seems to finally be bringing up the blackest of gold.”

Corwood 0784

[album cover]

WHAT ELSE DOES THE TIME MEAN

(CD, 2006)

Songs

My Own Way (16:34) / Walk Over (5:00) / Japanese Cup (7:24) / Walls Down (5:27) / The Place (6:36) / I’ve Been a Body (7:16) / I’m Sorry No (8:01) / If I Waited Twenty Hours (3:56)

Lyrics

Cover

Jandek wields an axe.

Corwood 0785

[album cover]

GLASGOW MONDAY

(2CD, 2006)
(DVD, 2007)

Songs

The Cell:
Disc 1: Prelude (5:12) / Part One (10:26) / Part Two (8:25) / Part Three (11:04) / Part Four (9:15); Disc 2: Part Five (7:40) / Part Six (6:21) / Part Seven (7:51) / Part Eight (6:29) / Part Nine (12:10)

Lyrics

Cover

A solitary stone house in a hilly country landscape, probably in the U.K. The doors and windows are pitch black.

Data (CD)

Another live double disc. According to the spine, the name of the album is Glasgow Monday. But the name of the composition it contains is “The Cell”; this is printed above the track listing. The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS GLASGOW SCOTLAND MAY 23, 2005.” See the Concerts page for details on the performance. Jandek plays piano throughout and sings; he is accompanied by Richard Youngs (bowed upright bass) and Alexander Neilson (percussion), both uncredited.

Data (DVD)

Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the music that was performed.

Corwood 0786

[album cover]

AUSTIN SUNDAY

(2CD, 2006)
(DVD, 2007)

Songs

Disc 1: Throw Me Away / Ugly Man / Lithe Body / The Police / Run Away / If I Wanted; Disc 2: Wine You Devil / You Hold Me Up / You Just About Killed Me / Little While / Lonely Dog / Let Me Try Again

Lyrics

Data

Another live double disc. The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: SCOTTISH RITE THEATRE AUSTIN TEXAS AUGUST 28, 2005.” See the Concerts page for details on the performance. The representative from Corwood plays electric guitar and sings; he is accompanied by Juan Garcia (electric bass), Nick Hennies (drums), and Chris Cogburn (drums).

See also http://mylist.net/archives/jandek/2006-November/003339.html.

Data (DVD)

Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the music that was performed. The DVD contains all of the footage shot by both cameras, one a fixed camera in back, the other a roving handheld camera near the stage. You either watch one, or the other; there’s no edited version mixing footage from both cameras.

Corwood 0787

[album cover]

THE RUINS OF ADVENTURE

(CD, 2006)

Songs

The Park (10:08) / Bluff Brink (8:10) / Completely Yours (7:10) / Mysteries of Existence (6:42) / The Ruins of Adventure (14:28) 

Lyrics

Cover

A closeup of the same photograph previously used on What Else Does the Time Mean.

Data

Vocals and fretless electric bass.

Comments

See http://mylist.net/archives/jandek/2006-December/003498.html and http://mylist.net/archives/jandek/2006-December/003500.html for commentary by Danen Jobe.

Corwood 0788

[album cover]

MANHATTAN TUESDAY

(2CD, 2007)

(2DVD, 2008)

Songs

Afternoon of Insensitivity:
Disc 1: Part One (13:04) / Part Two (20:44) / Part Three (9:56); Disc 2: Part Four (11:24) / Part Five (12:39) / Part Six (7:06) / Part Seven (18:25)

Lyrics

Data

Another live double disc. According to the spine, the name of the album is Manhattan Tuesday. But the name of the composition it contains is “Afternoon of Insensitivity”; this is printed above the track listing. The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES MANHATTAN NEW YORK SEPTEMBER 6, 2005.” The representative from Corwood plays Korg synthesizers (set to organ-like sounds) and sings; he is accompanied by Loren Connors (electric guitar), Matt Heyner (bass), and Chris Corsano (drums).

See the Concerts page for details on the performance.

Data (DVD)

Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the music that was performed in front of an audience. On the DVD edition, the whole concert fits on the first disc. The second disc, included at no extra charge, contains footage of the preconcert rehearsal that afternoon (!!!).

Comments

See http://mylist.net/archives/jandek/2007-May/003911.html for commentary by Danen Jobe.

Corwood 0789

[album cover]

BROOKLYN WEDNESDAY

(4CD, 2007)

(2DVD, 2008)

Songs

Set One:
Disc 1: Put Me There (11:21) / Destroy the Day (10:43) / Obscure Physics (8:26) / Structure of Words (9:02); Disc 2: All I Want (5:11) / Lonely World (8:32) / Change My Brain (9:51) / I’ll Send a Thought Out Floating / I Love You (10:51)
Set Two:
Disc 1: How ’r You (13:31) / City Pounding Down (12:12) / Different Blues (9:21) / My Necessity (8:21); Disc 2: Sea of People (7:59) / Sorry, Sorry (9:13) / Tequila Girl (10:54) / Just Enough (10:15)

Lyrics

Data

Jandek’s first box set, a 4 CD set, two jewel cases in a cardboard slipcover. The representative from Corwood plays electric guitar (first set) and fretless electric guitar (second set), accompanied by Matt Heyner (bass) and Chris Corsano (drums).

See the Concerts page for details on the performance.

Data (DVD)

Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the music that was performed.

Corwood 0790

[album cover]

THE MYTH OF BLUE ICICLES

(CD, 2008)

Songs

Too Course (7:30) / Blue Icicles (9:45) / The Daze (14:29) / There’s No Door (5:11)

Lyrics

Cover

Jandek high in a skyscraper, with the view of some other tall buildings in Houston behind him. Note the reflection near the right edge.

Data

Voice and acoustic guitar.

The back says copyright 2007, but the disc wasn’t available from Corwood until February 2008.

“Too Course” is a misspelling; it should be “Too Coarse”.

Corwood 0791

[album cover]

GLASGOW FRIDAY

(CD, 2008)

(DVD, 2008)

Songs

Walking Blues (13:08) / Goodbye Today (6:45) / This Wasted Life (6:14) / Slave of the River (6:08) / My Plan (10:48) / If I Could Be with You (6:36) / Out and About (6:13) / These Kokomos (9:24) / Something New (5:41) / Arms of a Stranger (6:47)

Lyrics

Data

The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: THE ARCHES  GLASGOW SCOTLAND  OCTOBER 14, 2005.” The representative from Corwood plays electric guitar, accompanied by Richard Youngs (bass) and Alex Neilson (drums). See the Concerts page for details on the performance.

Data (DVD)

Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the music that was performed.

Corwood 0792

[album cover]

GLASGOW SUNDAY 2005

(CD, 2008)

(DVD, 2009)

Songs

The Grassy Knoll (25:26) / Tribal Ether (24:47)

Lyrics

Data

The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: THE ARCHES  GLASGOW SCOTLAND  OCTOBER 16, 2005”. On the first track the representative from Corwood delivers a long spoken narrative. He also sings and plays harmonica. He is backed by Loren Connors on electric guitar. On the second track, the rep plays drum kit, with Heather Leigh Murray on lap steel guitar and wordless vocals and Alan Licht on electric guitar. See the Concerts page for details on the performance.

Data (DVD)

Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the music that was performed.

Corwood 0793

[album cover]

LONDON TUESDAY

(CD, 2008)

(DVD, 2009)

Songs

No Mind Was a Good Mind:
Part One (9:25) / Part Two (7:19) / Part Three (6:59) / Part Four (8:05) / Part Five (7:25) / Part Six (7:19) / Part Seven (9:35) / Part Eight (11:04)

Lyrics

Data

The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: ST. GILES IN THE FIELDS  LONDON ENGLAND  OCTOBER 18, 2005”. The representative from Corwood sings and plays acoustic guitar. See the Concerts page for details on the performance.

Data (DVD)

Both the CD and the DVD editions have the same front cover art and contain all of the music that was performed.

Corwood 0794

[album cover]

SKIRTING THE EDGE

(CD, 2008)

Songs

The Side of the Road (7:08) / I Know My Name (23:43) / The Playground (7:53) / Last Sunlight (11:57)

Lyrics

Data

Vocals and acoustic guitar.

Corwood 0795

[album cover]

HASSELT SATURDAY

(CD, 2009)

Songs

The Places You Left Me:
Part One (10:14) / Part Two (6:44) / Part Three (7:07) / Part Four (7:42) / Part Five (7:59) / Part Six (7:41) / Part Seven (7:29) / Part Eight (10:01)

Lyrics

Data

The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: KUNSTCENTRUM BELGIE  HASSELT BELGIUM  NOVEMBER 12, 2005”. The representative from Corwood plays piano and sings. See the Concerts page for details on the performance.

Corwood 0796

[album cover]

[album cover]

[album cover]

HELSINKI SATURDAY

(CD, 2009)

Songs

Sleeping in the Dawn (1:03:32)

Lyrics

Data

The credit on the back says “RECORDED LIVE: GLORIA KULTTUURIAREENA  HELSINKI FINLAND  NOVEMBER 19, 2005”. The representative from Corwood plays piano, accompanied by Iro Haarla on harp. There are no vocals. See the Concerts page for details on the performance.

A 4:18 excerpt from the performance was released in 2005 on the Avanto-Festivaali 2005 CD-R (Avanto AAAAA-2005). Jandek’s track leads off the compilation. There are nine different covers, two of which are shown here; see the Avanto site’s page about the compilation to see small versions of the rest. (The same page also has the full track listing; the other artists include Alva Noto, Blixa Bargeld, and Sudden Infant.) You can order the CD-R for 11 euros from Avanto’s catalog page.

Corwood 0797

[album cover]

NOT HUNTING FOR MEANING

(CD, 2009)

Songs

Front Porch Shimmy (4:10) / Stay Me Here (4:55) / Silent Wander (29:23)

Lyrics

Data

Vocals and acoustic guitar.

Corwood 0798

PORTLAND THURSDAY

(2CD, 2009)

Corwood 0799

PORTLAND THURSDAY

(2CD, 2009)

(DVD, 2009)

Corwood 0800

CAMBER SANDS SUNDAY

(CD, 2009)

Corwood 0801

BRISTOL WEDNESDAY

(2CD, 2010)

Corwood 0802

CANTICLE OF CASTAWAY

(CD, 2010)

Corwood 0803

TORONTO SUNDAY

(2CD, 2010)

Corwood 0804

CHICAGO WEDNESDAY

(2CD, 2010)

(DVD, 2010)

Corwood 0805

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE

(CD, 2011)

 

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