Loren Connors | The Curse of Midnight Mary

Family Vineyard (2009)
By DEVIN KING  |  February 24, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

Recorded in 1981, The Curse of Midnight Mary illustrates one genesis story for Loren Connors's affected and distended interpretation of solo blues guitar. Like Robert Johnson (who, it's said, "went down to the crossroads" to sell his soul to the Devil for the ability to play the haunting blues we know him for), Connors recorded overnight in Midnight Mary's cursed graveyard, where local New Haven legend had it that anyone visiting after midnight would be dead the next day.

Filled with the ghostly hisses and pops of a portable tape recorder, the album unfolds without distinct separation between tracks, creating a slow-moving sèance where Connors asks questions of the dead genre he's attempting to revive. His idiosyncratic guitar technique — overemphasized vibrato and string bending — and his wavering humming (similar to Glenn Gould as much as to the wails of early bluesmen) are gracefully grounded by his unabashed reliance on the melodies and forms of the Delta blues.

Part of the beauty of this record is that it seems to be a private moment for Connors — which makes me question whether it should have been released at all. Still, I'm glad to hear it.
Related: The long view, In action, Birds of a feather, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, The Curse of Midnight Mary,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FATHER MURPHY | ... AND HE TOLD US TO TURN TO THE SUN  |  July 29, 2009
    Harking back to an America where one's own lonely voice was the only radio and a BBQ meant a spit in the middle of the desert, Torino's Father Murphy hide detuned industrial textures within stripped-down, spacy folk instrumentation, like a man in a black hat picking up a bullet-riddled guitar with which to serenade his captives.
  •   SOUNDCARRIERS | HARMONIUM  |  May 27, 2009
    The first album from this Nottingham-based band is California dippy: whispered female/male harmonies, slack flutes, swinging drums, comping Hammond organs, and a bass player who finds basic funk riffs in every progression.
  •   THE MOVING PICTURES  |  May 12, 2009
    If one way that bands tie themselves to the past is through sonic reference — Fleet Foxes calling forth Crosby, Stills and Nash, or Animal Collective channeling the Grateful Dead — then there's been a number of bands who tie themselves to the past through cultural reference.
    Over the past year, Honest Jon's has released three compilations culled from more than 150,000 78s of early music from the EMI Hayes Archive: music from 1930s Baghdad, early West African music recorded in Britain, and a more general compilation that moved across country lines and the first half of the 20th century.
  •   PAPERCUTS | YOU CAN HAVE WHAT YOU WANT  |  April 14, 2009
    Hidden under reverb and aggressive analog production, the first sung lyrics on You Can Have What You Want belie what seems to be a cheery record title: "Once we walked in the sunlight three years ago this July."

 See all articles by: DEVIN KING