[Jandek] "Lesser" Jandek?

Danen Jobe danen1970 at gmail.com
Wed May 12 09:35:39 PDT 2010

Once upon a time (many moons so blue ago), this is what the Jandek list was
like. A few of us on here will remember this: when I joined the list in
1998, there was no documentary or Katy Vine interview or tours or books (ah
hem, looks at self in mirror) or anything like that, there was just
discussion about the discography. In fact, at first, there was only
discussion of a discography that didn't EXIST anymore - at that time "The
Beginning" was only about to come out and the reissues hadn't started, and
yet nearly everyone had at least HEARD most everything, had collected at
least a good chunk of the vinyl and was ready to throw down about it. Sorry
to get nostalgic, 'cause I sure don't miss the part of this list that was
all cult-y and into "I saw Jandek baggin' groceries at Safeway down in
Houston. I gave him a dollar tip." Seriously, part of it was like that. But
I miss the discussion of albums and this is the first post I've seen in a
LONG LONG time to do this, so forgive me for being a bit nostalgic.

Anyway, when you have as many albums as our man does, inevitably some rise
to the top and others get forgotten. "Living in a Moon So Blue" used to not
be quite as canonized (the favor has always - and still does - go to "Chair
Beside a Window" which sorta starts this bluesy sound, coming off the more
folky opening trio) and many seemed to feel that you could skip a lot of
these early numbers and skip ahead to "Interstellar Discussion". What a
shame. I've always loved "Cellophane" (and "Moon" as well) since this
captures best the BLUES GUY Jandek, the lone player with an obsession on
guys like Son House and Charley Patton but who plays music that only
distantly sounds like that. I've always thought Jandek was more about rhythm
than melody (that's why it works, see, the rhythm IS the melody) and I love
how these albums have these short songs with crazy ideas. Is one much like
the other? Sure, but he doesn't make music like this anymore so I'll take
all of it I can get.

Same with "New Town," which had just come out when I joined the list and
whose lyrics were the first I ever transcribed for the site. At the time,
the "down" feelings came from the idea that he might just make this album
forever. But he didn't, and he hasn't sounded like that for some time. After
"The Beginning" that phase ended, and I'm now hoping for an assessment of
such forgotten records as "The Place" or "A Kingdom He Likes." I spent time
a few weeks ago with the latter, and it's aged well, better than I would've
thought. Some real emotions on that one. Are any of these "top shelf" albums
that one would recommend for beginners? Probably not. We've had that
commentary before, made lists of the faves (the first four, the first three
concerts, the first three "second acoustic phase" a couple of the band
albums, probably "Portland Thursday" and "The Myth of Blue Icicles" now).
How about the seconds? How about the batch you get out when the first batch
is done? I think "Cellophane" and "New Town" are terrific examples of this,
as is "Kingdom." While I'm at it, I'll nominate "Glasgow Friday" for an
overlooked live set and "Somebody in the Snow" for an album that seems
always bi-passed by "The Living End." Is the former the better album? Sure
it is, easily in my top 5 Jandek's ever. But "Snow" deserves another look,
and that's what this suggestion is about. What do you guys think? "Camber
Sands?" "Not Hunting for Meaning?" "Nine Thirty," "I Woke Up?" Give it a go.


On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 11:06 AM, Brendan Stewart <
brendankifostewart at gmail.com> wrote:

> I may be mistaken, but it's my understanding that staring at the
> cellophane is one of Jandek's least favored albums. Although some reviews
> say otherwise, it seems that living in a moon so blue is considered
> somewhat of a classic in his whole discography, and it seems that SATC is
> mostly the same kind of material (well, more like very little of it is
> different), yet it's completely neglected. What's up with that?
> I was thinking, yea, okay, it could be the whole release date thing. It's
> too similar to stuff that was before it, so it gets ignored when it comes
> out and is then doomed to just sort of get looked over. Same thing
> happened with new town. Is this :actually: an unfavored album (SATC)? Or
> is it just something people put off?
> _______________________________________________
> jandek mailing list
> jandek at mylist.net
> http://mylist.net/listinfo/jandek
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