Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

When the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion gained notoriety on college radio with Orange in 1994 I was conflicted. I liked the pared down Booker T. and the M.G.'s vibe, but I couldn't stomach the whole tongue-in-cheek pseudo-Elvis schlock of Jon Spencer's lead vocals. I bought a cassette of Orange nonetheless, but as it turned out there was an imperfection in the tape which prevented me from listening to all 13 tracks.

As the years ticked off I accumulated most of the Blues Explosion albums secondhand at steep discounts by shopping regularly at Half Price Books. When a coworker introduced me to R.L. Burnside and made me a copy of A Ass Pocket of Whiskey I became more accepting of the Spencer shtick.

An enormous renaissance in my appreciation came when I started to train for road races. I had loaded all my accumulated Jon Spencer compact discs onto my iTunes and randomly programmed a couple albums, Now I Got Worry and Plastic Fang to begin with, to sync with my iPod touch. And what I discovered is that when a Blues Explosion song shuffled on during one of my many runs I always got a boost, a significant leap beyond what most other artist tracks delivered. I think it's the crunchy, distorted lead guitar set against the back beat that's pumped up to ride high in the mix.

Last night walking home from work on my way to do Friday evening bachelor grocery shopping for the upcoming week, "Hold On" from Plastic Fang shuffled on my iPod.

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