Musical fridays 2: Charles and the white trash European blues connection.


A while ago I announced a series of ‘musical fridays’, so here’s the second post, with a very obscure song, ‘Americans’ by ‘Charles and the white trash European blues connection’ taken from my ‘song in my head’ posts on facebook…

Hidden somewhere in my CD collection iconnections an obscure CD in a paper case with a picture of the back of some strange guy with the words ‘Charles and the white trash European blues connection’ on it. It’s not at all that clear anywhere whether that’s the name of the band, or the name of the Cd, or both… On the CD if you care to listen to a lot of noise can be found, which is supposed to be music, and that opccupies a niche somewhere in between blues and garage rock, sometimes with a light industrual feel even. There’s not that much information on the case, just the names of band members and stuff like that, and it can be noted that the whole album has been recorded and mixed on one afternoon on april 2nd in 1998. I suspect that it was not the most sober afternoon in those musicians’ lives, but that might just be a prejudice…

There also is a sticker on it with a single name, ‘Arno’, probably a later addiction from the record company to clarify a bit about the CD so they could be able to sell at least a few copies of this record. I’m not sure much copies of it were ever sold, and I even suspect it is out of print now. It’s one of those records that went forgotten in the history of rock’n roll…

All of this doesn’t mean that the ‘Arno’ guy isn’t a big name in the wonderous world of Belgian rock’n roll. The so-called Arno, full name Arno Hintjens, is a well-known Belgian rock-singer, who was the frontman of a band called TC Matic in the seventies/eighties, a noisy band whose greatest hits are called putain putain and oh la la la. But he is also known for his solo music, which is quite variable. He’s the kind of rockstar with a broken voice that sounds like he’s always drunk (or worse) and who sometimes can sound quite inspired on one song, and in the next song just makes plain dumb music. (I thik of a song like bathroom singer, and yes I am a madness fan and still I find this very dumb music) A lot of his songs are in French, and in a surreal twist of weirdness the guy has even been given the knighthood (the title of “Knight in the Arts and Literature” actually) for what he has done for the French language by the French government. Don’t ask me… Europe can be a pretty weird place sometimes if you think about it..

Back to that CD… I don’t like everything Arno has recorded, but I’ve always liked that ‘Charles and the white trash European blues connection’ album a lot, and not only because it’s a good CD to scare guests with… It is one of the albums that brought me alive through my twentysomething years… A very pure form of very basic rock’n roll with a heavy groove and a very raw form of the blues… And still a CD to put on very loudly, as loudly as possible, when my wife isn’t home… but it’s so obscure now I can’t find any of it on youtube except for this Kinks cover ‘death of a clown‘. 6 out of 10 songs are here on grooveshark though…

A song that always stood out for me is the last song, called ‘Americans’, which is a simple tune about the things Americans gave us (Europeans), a subject I’ve been thinking about lately. The music is raw and the vocals are tormented, and very pure, and the lyrics are a bit random and filled with ‘explicit content’ of the type we have been importing from the US a lot…

And now that we’re here, just listen to their version of the old delta blues classic ‘you got to move‘. It won’t get more industrial and garage than this, but then there’s that really incredible harmonica solo, wow…

So, am I the only one who likes Charles and the white trash European blues connection?

peace

Bram

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