[Jandek] Ft. Worth Saturday & Skirting the Edge

Shervin Fatehi fatehi at berkeley.edu
Fri Feb 6 19:00:43 PST 2009

On Fri, February 6, 2009 4:19 pm, Rick Hall wrote:
> Any word on a "Ft. Worth Saturday" release?

I have a feeling it's pretty far back up the pipeline -- it's 18 concerts
back from London Tuesday. I'd be surprised if it didn't happen, though,
since I *think* every concert has been recorded (although, as Corwood
noted a while back, not every concert has been filmed).

> Also, how about some comments/reviews on "Skirting the Edge".

Together with Glasgow Sunday 2005, Skirting the Edge is my favorite of the
recent batch of 5 or so releases. Both releases stand out for me, for
different reasons:

On Glasgow Sunday 2005, Jandek stepped away from his usual instrument. His
guitar-playing is less engaging with every release -- I find myself
longing for the days where he'd at least strum a recognizable chord now
and then (or, alternately, pick more single notes). Part of the reason for
this -- and you can hear it when he "tunes up" before songs on the concert
recordings -- is that he's been using the conventional guitar tuning (at
least in terms of the intervals between the strings, if not their absolute
pitches) for quite some time now without letting up, and there's only so
much EADGBE dissonance I can hear before it gets old. By contrast, Jandek
has never played *that* much in the way of harmonica or drums (as he does
on GS2005), and the novelty hits the spot. (I've always enjoyed his
harmonica-playing, in any case. "Alexandria Knows" is a highlight for me.)
Even so, the guitar playing on Skirting the Edge is the most interesting
I've heard from Jandek in a while. He either switched something up, or
this playing style complements the vocals better than usual.

On both GS2005 and Skirting the Edge, he also steps away from the habit
that's been plain ol' pissing me off, both in the concert recordings and
on the records -- singing in that high, flat, nearly monotone moan
(although he indulges himself a little in the last verse on "The Grassy
Knoll" on the former record). He's got such a good speaking and mid-range
speak-singing voice that it warms the heart to hear him using it again.
Combine that with the unusually strong lyrics, and Skirting the Edge is a
real winner.


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