Floating Records (label)
14 February 2018 (released)
14 February 2018
OK, so I have picked my jaw up off the floor and gone back in to listen to this album a few more times.
It is the most overtly political album I’ve heard in ages but his sense of humour and the sheer musicality of this tempers the shoutiness of his themes but somehow manages to make the songs even more impactful.
Peter Kaukonen has a 40 year history in music with the West Coast’s finest bands – Jefferson Airplane and Starship, Johnny Winter, Link Wray, Hot Tuna (with his brother Jorma) and others. He is a superb guitarist and has been writing songs for many years.
This is a collection of the songs he has been doing live for years (hence the Quilt imagery) but with either completely new arrangements or new structures. Much of the music here is based in Blues but his songwriting talents go way past that and he touches on the best sides of country and even jazz in different places.
For a man with his background it is hardly surprising that some of the targets of his barbs include Sarah Palin (‘The Ballad of Sarah Palin’) , Saddam Hussein (‘The Ballad of Saddam Hussein’) and Donald Trump (‘Maria Full Of Gracesome’) but there are also some remarkable numbers regarding spiritualism (‘Ghost Music’) and really beautiful songs that have a less overt tone such as ‘Pacqui’ and ‘(Drifting) Cozumel’ where his musicianship really comes to the fore.
Of the more outlandish songs ‘The Ballad Of Sarah Palin’ – sung to the tune of ‘Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier’ – is about as scatological and plain vicious as you could wish for and probably actionable but damn funny too - if you are not a fan of the alt-right.
‘Bobby Gets Old’ is a delightful ballad, wistful and loaded with pathos, mainly spoken as he really puts over the feeling of advancing age – especially the loss of friends and loved ones.
I could also listen to ‘Twilight Revisited’ time and again just for the gentle sensitivity of the song.
I really didn’t have any idea what this would turn out to be but after sinking down under the quilt I am fast realising that there are songs here I will be listening to for years to come.
Very, very good.