Monday, July 16, 2012
Chris Ligon, And How I Hit "Play" And It Hit Me Back
I saw the new NRBQ last week. It was third time this year and if they were playing next week, I'd go again, as well as the week after, and after that too. But I'm not here to talk about the merits of Terry Adams and his new crop of Q...not really.
At all three performances, as different as each set was, the band played a song that simply knocked me out. It's called "Florida," and it was written by guitarist Scott Ligon's brother Chris. It can be found on "Look At The Birdy," one of the most bizarre little records I have ever heard, and I heard a lot of records. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy "Look At The Birdy." It's just that I don't usually sit mouth agape, in a frozen stupor for 33 minutes straight.
I admit I was hoping for an album similar to "Florida," which glides along in a perfect pop way. Instead, I was hijacked. From the opener "Buglight," a song that would not have been out of place on any of Captain Beefheart's classic records to "Baby Books Bossa" and "Dr. Peanut," two songs (?) that make the Bonzo Dog Band sound like The Archies, "Look At The Birdy" was relentless. I couldn't catch my breath.
Some bits, and I say bits because most of the tracks are under two minutes, are just too strange to be fun, like the nerve-shredding "I Don't Die," which is downright scary. But trust me, when Chris Ligon connects, as he does on "Oh What A Day," "A Thousand Pumpkins" and the aforementioned "Florida," he smacks it out of the ballpark.
Then there is the genius of "Frankenstein Just Got Up." Homer & Jethro would be proud. This is a song about a couple who moves into an apartment that the landlord promised would be quiet, only to find out their upstairs neighbor is Frankenstein. I wish I had written these lyrics:
"Frankenstein just got up, he's looking for his keys, he's stompin' around from room to room, I'd wish he'd bend his knees."
"Look At The Birdy" is available on Spotify, eMusic and Amazon. Ligon also has a website, which seems to be under construction, but there is a "shop" and a whopping dozen more CDs for sale. Sadly, no audio samples and some look like he might have been 12 years old when they were recorded, making me wonder if his twisted sense of humor was behind what might not be real releases at all. Can't say for sure. I can say that "Look At The Birdy" is a wildly entertaining 33 minutes, if you're up for a little diversion from your usual playlists.