TIM FOLJAHN – Fucking Love Songs

Album: Fucking Love Songs

Artist: Tim Foljahn

Label: Kiam

January 01, 1970

www.kiamrecords.com

Tim F 3-31

The Upshot: The Two Dollar Guitar man crafts his Blood On The Tracks. (And hey, we here at BLURT like it so much we decided to review it twice!.)

BY JOHN SCHACHT

Known for his intimate, dark and sparse solo work, as well as the Two Dollar Guitar catalog of similarly hued recordings done with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, Tim Foljahn cranks up the amplifiers and drums for this set of songs about, well, fucking love.

More impressively, Foljahn hits the American songbook – the post-WWII version – to catalog love’s fickle vicissitudes, from all-encompassing obsession (the doo-wop flavored “Beloved”) to the equally obsessive flipside, bittersweet rejection (“Thanks”). He also hit the Rolodex (Iook it up, kids) to recruit a top-notch band —guitar whiz Smokey Hormel chief among them — and fleshed out his songs to startling effect.

These 10 songs still resonate fundamental Foljahn, of course – the dry baritone that intones late-night, Leonard Cohen intimacy is the dominant element here. That’s true whether the volume is jacked up to “10” on the guitar-riff opener “Wild Tonight,” the sweaty, chooglin’ blues of “Plain As Day” and garage-punk hybrid “Etant Donné,” or if it’s subdued, as on the keyboard-centric ballad “River” or the Brit folk-like “Legends,” where love and the Crusades (!) collide and end in a haunted organ coda.

Foljahn still sounds like Cohen (and occasionally Simon Joyner) in places, such as album-highlight “Beast,” a relaxed-tempo guitar-and-keys shuffle that belies its creepy subject matter (“I go hunting in your wardrobe/In your flesh and your bone/I find my heart’s desire”). That connection is even more pronounced on “Thanks,” a pretty strummed ditty with slide guitar accents that captures both the sadness and bitterness of a relationship crack-up, particularly in the line “It’s not that I deny all the pretty things you said to me/I just don’t think it’s wise to mistake them for honesty.”

But it’s not at all a downbeat journey. “River,” with its lazy, flowing start, builds brilliantly to its emotional conclusion, as Foljahn addresses his absent lover and yearns to reconnect: “Oh, my lover, oh, my river, when will we run together?” Foljahn takes that idea a step further into the mysterious natural world on “Garden Lady,” as a pump organ and tasteful guitar fills float over Nick Drake-like finger-picking and bring the LP to a beautiful and apropos full circle by alluding to that first earthly relationship between men and women in Eden.

Love’s mutability has fueled both musicians and the music business forever. It’s given us our most memorable and most saccharine recordings —too often the latter, of course. So when the great ones come along – and you can argue this is Foljahn’s Blood on the Tracks—that’s something worth celebrating.

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