THAT'S THE DIRECTOR'S UP THERE
[IT'S SHORTER: I CAN'T WATCH LONG ONES (I LIKE THAT MEMPHIS SIGN LADY THOUGH...I HOPE THAT'S NOT THE DIRECTOR'S WIFE!)]
Make It Stop!produced by
The Most of Ross Johnson
[originally produced by Jim Dickinson for 'Like Flies on Sherbert' 1979]
SPECIAL JAPANESE INTRODUCTION QUOTE!
Maybe some of the strange times, but he, in a sloppy manner, in which it is his feeling, was that, like him, it's pure rock!"-- JAPANESE FAN ON 'BARON Of LOVE'
Like the kin of Jerry Clower, Jerry Lewis, and Jerry Lee Lewis passing a coffin on Percodan, Ross Johnson's "BARON OF LOVE (PT. 2), the video [special abbreviated version] from Alex Chilton's LP, "LIKE FLIES ON SHERBERT" is his Ross Johnsonest release yet!
This PANTHER BURNS' cluster-fuck alumni helped foment Memphis's 1970s 'cult of no personality' scene, which brought together a horde of shut-ins, and provided 'art damage' therapy, propagated by Tav Falco and his Unapproachable's.
Tav used a tool borrowed from the infamous cult leader chest: quasi babble-speak on top of dissonant musical accompaniment.
The cult called 'PANTHER BURNS,' named after an apocryphal [also cultic ] legend--unverified and orally passed from Plantation to cotton field--where 'you know who' thought they saw 'you know what' ON FIRE [!], smack dab in Mississippi's Delta.
This cult consisted of Alex Chilton [guitar], Tav (Gustavo)Falco [vocals, Silvertone guitar], Jim Dickinson [guitar *not sic], Eric Hill [synthesizer], and our man of the hour--the reason we're here! The greatest one-handed, beer-gulping timekeeper since the man from Munchen held a metronome and a Weierstrass while simultaneously yodeling--Ross Johnson [stand-up drums]!
LIKE FLIES ON SHERBERT ['LFOS'], recorded at Sam Phillips Studios, 1979; mixed the following year; released as a pipe-dream on Sid Selvidge's Peabody label; one year later on Aura; and finally by Patrick Mathe's French, New Rose, wherein it has grown into the greatest cult record of 'em all--in my opinion.
The album is divided among Chilton originals and Nashville Bar Band covers [think of a Lower Broad band-rider which includes Dexamyl and a keg of Schnaaps].
The only non-LX vocal track on 'LFOS' (although LX makes known the spirit of the recently departed Baron, Elvis in this tallboy-fueled, extempore-eulo-billy, seance/monologue, through his use of ribbons of a/b guitar feedback), this 'Flies,' was remastered by Dickinson, who says it's as good as it's going to get--which in Memphis means "ROSS JOHNSON will forever be remembered for "Baron Of Love (Pt. 2)"! *Orig track from Alex Chilton's 'Like Flies on Sherbert' produced by Jim Dickinson From Ross Johnson's Goner Records' self defecating 25-year retrospective autobiographically titled 'Make It Stop!The Most of Ross Johnson'.
[some of the content of this review may have been taken directly from other sources, where it may have been mechanically manipulated into its current state by the author. The author is not responsible for any over-three word strands which may still may remain in tact--thank you.]
What do Alex Chilton, Jim Dickinson, Tav Falco, Peter Buck, Monsieur Jeffrey Evans and Jon Spencer have in common?They’ve all lent their talents to the skewed genius that is Memphis drummer/ranter/raconteur extraordinaire Ross Johnson.
Johnson’s name may only be familiar to a cult of faithful followers, but he’s one of the true heroes of the Southern alt and punk rock underground. From his days riding shotgun with Chilton, to his efforts helping found the Panther Burns to his work with outfits like the Gibson Bros. and ’68 Comeback, Ross has been a dedicated soldier in the trash rock trenches for four decades – while creating a catalog of truly brilliant and bizarre solo recordings on the side.
This January, Goner Records, will release Make It Stop!: The Most of Ross Johnson. This career-spanning collection includes 20-plus tracks, covering Ross’s solo sides and numerous all-star collaborations from 1979 to 2006. It’s a wild, wooly, sonic and lyrical journey that’s sure to take its place among the more outré anthologies in your CD collection.
Ross' mostly spontaneously composed songs – which concern his fraught relations with women, booze, and the very nature of being a Southerner -- are part deconstructionist roots music, part absurdist comedy. Imagine a cross between Hasil Adkins and Sam Kinison, or Charlie Feathers and Albert Brooks, or Kim Fowley and Jerry Clower, and you’ll get the picture (please forgive the groping hybrid comparisons, but as you’ll find out, Ross is rather hard to define). Call it southern fried outsider art or rockabilly psychosis, but once you get a glimpse of Ross’ twisted vision, you’ll never look at the world the same way again.
But Johnson’s story is more than that of just an unhinged rock and roll hellion. An Arkansas native and son of a respected newspaper editor, he moved to Memphis as a teen, just in time for the city’s mid-60s garage band boom. He got his foot in the music scene as a one of the few original and enthusiastic fans of hometown pop group Big Star. Johnson then went on to write for the legendary Lester Bangs at Creem, under the memorable alias of Chester the Conger Eel. He soon befriended Alex Chilton, helped introduce punk rock to Memphis, and later became a notorious imbiber/MC/ringleader as a founding member of Tav Falco’s Panther Burns. Since then he’s spent time thumping the tubs for a variety of wild outfits from the Gibson Bros. to the Ron Franklin Entertainers --- all the while maintaining his alter-ego as a mild mannered librarian at the University of Memphis.
Make It Stop! is a treasure trove of material that collects a variety of out-of-print, hard-to-find, and previously unreleased selections from Ross’ colorful career, including singles, album and comp appearances for labels like Peabody, Sympathy for the Record Industry, Sugar Ditch, and Loverly.
There is of course his legendary vocal debut, “Baron of Love Pt. II,” one of the highlights of Alex Chilton’s famed Like Flies on Sherbert album.
Also, included are solo tracks ranging from 1982’s infamous “Wet Bar” – which was featured on the companion CD to Robert Gordon’s book It Came from Memphis – to early-‘90s cult classics like “It Never Happened” and “Nudist Camp,” down to the recent acoustic nugget, “Signify,” a ridiculously raw self-confessional that will have you laughing and crying simultaneously.
The disc also unearths some never-before-heard (and suitably insane) tracks Ross recorded with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck amid a drunken haze sometime in early 1983.Credited to(Amazingly, when the tapes were discovered in late 2007, Buck had total recall of the sessions and the songs; Ross has no recollection of recordings whatsoever).Our Favorite Bandsongs like “Rockabilly Monkey-Faced Girl” and “My Slobbering Decline” represent some of Buck's first work outside of R.E.M.
[HEY, THAT'S ME],
Also included is Ross’ work with a couple mid-‘90s groups he fronted like Adolescent Music Fantasy – dig the band’s twisted take on “Theme From ‘A Summer Place’”. Ross and multi-instrumentalist Tim Farr stir things up as The Young Seniors – check their brilliant cover of Bobby Lee Trammell’s “If You Ever Get It Once” and a revamp of The Gentrys’ hit “Keep on Dancing,” which Ross mutates into a meditation on the embarrassing nature of “ass whoopings.”
Further highlights include a handful of team-ups between Ross and fellow garage cult icon, Monsieur Jeffrey Evans (Gibson Bros., ’68 Comeback). The duo essays everything from the freaky holiday anthem “Mr. Blue (Cut Your Head on X-Mas)” to a souped-up take on “Farmer John,” with equal parts guitar distortion and manic glee.
Make It Stop! comes packaged with a handsome 16-page color booklet, featuring Ross' own hilarious biographical essay, as well as tributes from acclaimed author Robert Gordon ("It Came From Memphis," the Muddy Waters bio "Can’t Be Satisfied"), MOJO writer Andria Lisle, and pop culture critic John Floyd.
Once the proverbial needle drops on this collection you’ll be – as Gordon notes in his liners – “seduced then debauched” by Ross’s “rivulets of rage, humor, and words words words.”
Don’t say we didn’t warn ya’.