Jack Rose With D. Charles Speer & The Helix Discography
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Jack Rose With D. Charles Speer & The HelixThis slab of gripping sound was brought about by Jack Rose's exuberant love of lowdown music. Inspired by the Mordecai Jones/Link Wray 3 Track Shack sessions, the idea for this collaboration was germinated while Rose was traveling through the heartland on a tour with D. Charles Speer & the Helix in spring 2008. Musicians used to the road are familiar with the phenomenon wherein a certain tape or recording becomes the thematic soundtrack to the tour at hand. In this case, daily doses of "Scorpio Woman" and "In the Pines" as performed by Link Wray became the touchstones for their travels together. Jack got so excited by the vibes emanating from these songs that he thought to break with his usual acoustic approach and get some electricity in his life again. So he enlisted the Speer band to join in some unhinged and unrepentant fun in the studio. Recorded using an all live, no overdub approach, the resultant session was deemed an all time favorite experience by everyone lucky enough to partake in it. A gleaming bottle of Buffalo Trace helped shepherd us through the dark hours of the night, and in turn that spirit animal adorns the front cover of the record. As producer, Jason Meagher was able to capture the visceral rough and tumble feel that invigorated his Black Dirt Studio in the dog days of August 2008. Featuring the original lineup of D. Charles Speer & the Helix in peak form and rare lap steel and Telecaster stylings from Rose, Ragged and Right displays a vibrancy and depth of feeling that is striking and unforgettable.
D. Charles Speer & the Helix came together through the common hearing of a certain inflection. Born from the heart and mind of David Charles Shuford, strains of glassine cruelty, broken glasses and ruptured knees mixed with memories of Chet Atkins lullabies and ZZ Top vids to generate a songcraft steeped in tradition but themed for the burned. An early century compulsion to stalk the David Freeman mail order record lists led to a group of home recordings in which D. Charles Speer emerged. A tribute to the ever loving and giving Louise Speer, here the shadows of history are both enjoyed for their shade and cursed for their reach. A band coalesced to perform the songs live, first manned by Robert Gregory on drums and then populated by more old friends. Setting stages alight since 2006, D. Charles Speer & the Helix are a force to be reckoned with where ever the nightlife reigns supreme. All having followed a coursing path chasing quicksilver forms, each member of the Helix feels the weight of the sky well. Years of soaking in the spirit of improvisation have come to rest in a deep grooved vessel bourne by 12 legs. A kind of reflecting chamber wherein the sonic heritage of Georgia, California, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Piraeus are blended into a fine barrel for the discerning boozer. Two albums were tracked at Jason Meagher's nascent Black Dirt Studios: After Hours and the most recent LP Distillation, released on Three Lobed Recordings in November 2009. Since this alchemical roots operation occurs in New York, the listener realizes quickly the band's edge remains sharp: the resonating geographic ghosts feel far from distant - instead their presence is made palpable. San Francisco and Bakersfield are collocated and felt close. One can imagine a scene wherein Moby Grape gets smashed against the windshield, but the Wipers make sure that Gary Stewart can find his way to San-Hozay; of course this is a musical sequence that should be seen to be experienced fully. The Speer gang feel right at home on the road and love to get heels kicking in clubs, house parties, bars, basements and VFW halls across the land.
A native of Virginia and resident of Philadelphia since 1998, Jack Rose first rose to prominence in the drone/noise/folk unit, Pelt. Pelt can be counted among the early influential new music underground bands such as UN, No Neck Blues Band, Charalambides, Tower Recordings and Six Organs of Admittance. Jack recorded and toured with the band up until 2006 but released his first solo LP, Red Horse, White Mule, of post-Takoma, American primitive guitar, in 2002. Along with the influences of John Fahey and Robbie Basho, Jack also incorporated North Indian classical, early American blues, minimalism and bluegrass into his singular style. 2005 saw the release of his fourth LP, Kensington Blues, which incorporated all of the aforementioned influences and his playing/composing fully flowered. That LP is now considered a classic of contemporary guitar music. His tenth LP Luck In The Valley was released on Thrill Jockey in February 2010 to wide spread critical acclaim. Sadly, Jack unexpectedly passed away in December 2009 at the age of 38. He is greatly missed by all those who knew him but his influence and legacy will persist forever.
There are no tour dates at this time.
Ragged and Right review posted by Exclaim, read it here
NPR Music – World Café has a nice feature here