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Blues fans are just thick. You can play them any old rubbish and they'll cheer. It doesn't matter how badly you play because blues fans, who are supposed to he so intelligent, will accept anything, however abysmal' - Chris Mercer, quoted by the mysterious Neville Wiggins, The History of Rock Volume 5 Issue 56 (Stepping Out), 1983, p.1101-1103

Author Topic: Blind Boy Paxton  (Read 1658 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Blind Boy Paxton
« on: April 07, 2011, 10:27:28 PM »
Just returned from seeing a show at Jalopy by Blind Boy (Jerron) Paxton. BBP & I have been communicating via myspace messages & e-mail for 3 or 4 years but met tonight for the first time. His performance was probably, objectively speaking, uneven. He seemed more invested in some material than others, but the song selection itself was controversial & I think brilliant. Jerron aims to challenge the audience and society's perceptions and preconceptions about what he is and how he should be received. Tonight he wore a quite nice grey vested suit minus jacket a bright blue full head covering knit yarmulke replete with Menorahs and Tsitsis, the traditional orthodox Jewish fringed undergarment whose fringes often protrude.  The first words out of his mouth were "I'm Black". He then proceeded to preform several numbers on 5 string banjo including some that he introduced as Coon songs. There was a surrealists' transgressive sensibility at work in what he played and how he delivered the material. In the Blues and related music category he played a rather franticly paced Slow Drag which morphed into pieces of Diddy Wah Diddy, Maple Leaf Rag and a few other musical snippets.
Nobody would be unimpressed with his playing, it was fleet, hard charging and a touch hysterical. In fact hysterical is not a bad adjective to apply to what he does. His demeanor is normal but there is a hysterical edge to what he plays, both in its tempo and its content and the effect on me was occasionally to leave me gasping for air, doubled over in pain, laughing hysterically. He did a credible version of Henry Townsend's "Cairo", a song that I believe might have been by Carl Martin, Furry Lewis' Casey Jones, Gary Davis' Candyman transformed into almost another piece due to the accelerated tempo and probably a few others that are slipping my mind. He played a maudlin 19th century ballad, again on 5 string banjo, about a three year old dying while waiting to bestow his last goodnight kiss on his daddy late home from the shop, but too late. A song about a Coon who ventures onto the Bowery only to be abused by everyone he meets, and promising never to return, and lastly moved to the piano where he launched into a combination, Jazz, Beethoven, stride medley eventually settling into the most insanely pornographic, surreal, lengthy and hilarious song I have ever heard. A true masterpiece of filth and anarchy in which a man unsatisfied with an endless series of copulations assails a mountain goat. All delivered dead pan, with a matter of fact, off the cuff quality that increased the disconnect between music and lyric and really almost killed me.
One of the great performances I've seen really, but its hard to see where someone taking such an aggressively, though friendly. anti establishment PC destroying posture, has to go.
So there's more here than excellent blues playing. If you can imagine a soft spoken musically precocious combination of Red Fox, Richard Pryor, Mike Seeger & Ari Eisenger, you get just how crazy & how special Jerron Paxton's performance was.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 10:30:08 PM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline frankie

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Re: Blind Boy Paxton
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2011, 03:32:42 AM »
Thanks for the review, O'muck...  I had that show on my radar, but couldn't make it out last night.

the most insanely pornographic, surreal, lengthy and hilarious song I have ever heard. A true masterpiece of filth and anarchy in which a man unsatisfied with an endless series of copulations assails a mountain goat. All delivered dead pan, with a matter of fact, off the cuff quality that increased the disconnect between music and lyric and really almost killed me.

Well, that alone certainly would have been worth the price of admission!

So there's more here than excellent blues playing. If you can imagine a soft spoken musically precocious combination of Red Fox, Richard Pryor, Mike Seeger & Ari Eisinger, you get just how crazy & how special Jerron Paxton's performance was.


Well said.

Offline lindy

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Re: Blind Boy Paxton
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2011, 08:38:15 AM »

Don't know where Jarron gets those songs. The first year he was at Port Townsend, during his small club performance he sang a song about people who don't wipe their a____s sufficiently, and he pointed behind him (he was sitting at a piano to the side of the room) in my general direction as an example. I swear he was wrong.

He's only 21 (though maybe's he's had a birthday since I last saw him). Like you said, an amazing mix of talent and an ear for odd songs for someone that age. So far he seems to have figured out that there are some songs you do in a place like the Jalopy in front of a crowd of 20-30, and some that you don't do in front of an audience of 800-1,000 like the main stage at Centrum. I hope he continues to understand the difference.

L

Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: Blind Boy Paxton
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2011, 12:08:11 PM »
Great review, Mr. O.  Jerron is on another level for sure.  Last year he was saying that his first album would be called "Songs That Make White People Uncomfortable".  Can't wait to hear it.  Watching him perform at Centrum last year was a beautiful thing.  He kept it PG-13 and had the whole room in the palm of his hand.  I've also got recordings of him sitting around the Weenie House reciting some of the raunchiest stuff I've ever heard in my life.  I can't think of another person that could pull this stuff off as well as he does.  I didn't think I'd be able to make it to PT this year, but then Jerron asked me to be his "seeing eye ofay"!! So now I'll get a work-trade discount AND I get to herd this genius around Port Townsend all week!!

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