Mercury Rev: specters of the old south | Culture

Mercury Rev: specters of the old south | Culture

Nothing works in the long term in popular music as an enigma. Bobbie Gentry appeared shrouded in mystery with his 1967 number one Ode to Billie Joe, transgressing the rules of pop to relate the suicide of the protagonist and the coldness with which his family receives the news that he has jumped from a bridge. Unresolved arcana of the southern gothic, the young singer melted the leafy musical tradition of her land-Roberta Lee Streeter had been born in Mississippi, 1942-with the literary qualities of the singer-songwriters who emerged at the time with a purity that silenced the roar of rock . Such an intriguing theme earned her two Grammy awards, but although a self-sufficient artist - she composed and produced her albums, had studied philosophy and posited as a feminist - she lost interest and, after half a dozen LPs, performances in Las Vegas and a television program, the end of the seventies disappears.

Mercury Rev: specters of the old south

Artist: Mercury Rev

Disk: Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited

Stamp: Bella Union-PIAS

Rating: 7 out of 10

Another unknown: Mercury Rev, from Buffalo, New York. They signed one of the most fascinating and lyrical works of the nineties, Deserter's Songs, but they did not manage to maintain the spell and they were spacing out their recordings. Reduced to the founders Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper, plus Jesse Chandler of the Midlake Texans, today they claim the forgotten second album of the girl from Chickasaw County. The Delta Sweete he explored his childhood memories - people, the ecosystem, religion - in a collection of songs whose folk origins were dressed in dreamy orchestrations, swampy guitars and urban trumpets. The success of this review, consistent with the dream landscape of Mercury Rev, is based on 13 vocalists who inhabit, each in its own way, the songs and versions of the unsuccessful elepé. The precocious opera country-rock It is reborn in interpretations that translude the unrepeatable, eccentric character of its creator, only months after Capitol reedited its complete works.

From the initial Okolona River Bottom Band, of which Norah Jones appropriates joyful, until Courtyard, where Beth Orton - who already dedicated a song to Gentry - exhales a hardened emotion, everything flows slowly and vaporously downstream. Mercury Rev ingenian arrangements sleepy and spacious background, intuiting what the good lady, who lives secluded between Los Angeles and Memphis, would have wanted. It is in this common ground, because they are united by the desire to enrich the tradition with telluric, personal encouragement, where The Delta Sweete Revisited it rises above the bald tribute and conquers its own reality. Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star reformulates Big Boss Man with latent nocturnality, Laetitia Sadier de Stereolab brings gravity to Morning Glory, Margo Price applies gospel breathing to Sermon and Phoebe Bridgers intone Jessye Lisabeth with sweetness There is a tremendous epilogue: Ode to Billie Joe by Lucinda Williams, perhaps heir of Gentry in the spell of the specters of the old south.


Source link