Jack Rose & D. Charles Speer & The Helix – Ragged and Right

January 01, 1970

(Thrill Jockey)




It hurts to listen to this EP featuring the combined talents
of avant roots rockers D. Charles Speer & The Helix and the dearly departed
American stringman Jack Rose, who sadly and shockingly succumbed to a heart
attack in December of ’09 at the young age of 38. Not because it isn’t any
good; rather quite the contrary, as Ragged
and Right
is a stellar achievement that only disappoints in the brevity of
its mere 17 minutes in length. It’s just a painful reminder of how talented
Jack was.


He’s backed by the immensely talented musicians of The Helix
on this set of full-tilt country rock inspired by Link Wray’s venerated Three Track Shack sessions of the early ‘70s
(which served as the unofficial soundtrack for the two acts’ 2008 tour across
the Heartland). Produced by No Neck Blues Band/Suntanama/Coach Fingers point
man Jason Meagher at his Upstate, NY-based Black Dirt Studio, these four tracks
feature Speer and The Helix sublimely providing a powder keg of Catskill boogie
for Rose to unleash his talents via both the lap steel and the Fender
Telecaster – it’s as though he was simultaneously receiving Heaven-sent transmissions
from Duane Allman and John Fahey through the pick-up.


Here, he plays on tracks like “Linden Ave. Stomp” and a
jubilant romp through the Wray version of the traditional black folk hymnal “In
The Pines” (aka “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”) with a sense of vibrant
fluidity unlike that’s anything he had participated in during his 16 years as a
professional musician. Please tell me there is more to these sessions than just
this EP, because I can listen to these cats cook all day long.


It’s just a damn shame that Jack had to leave us just as
business was starting to boom.


“Linden Ave.
Stomp”, “In The Pines” RON HART


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