Road Dog Dharma
Once again on Road Dog Dharma Rev. Freakchild breaks the mold. The mood is set by the sound of static as a radio is dialed, interrupted by a strong acapella version of “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad.” After that, about half of the 25 tracks are bits and pieces of radio interviews he has done around the country. Hey, if you only like for things to be done the way they always have, or if you think “holy blues” can’t include some Buddhist teachings, you won’t like this. But if you have an open mind, you’re going to get to know the Reverend a little bit and find he is a fascinating and eminently likable person who is a great singer. musician and entertainer as well.
Along and the way, you get some amazing music, varying from the psychedelic to country to traditional blues, blues-rock, and folk. Freakchild has a great band, too, which often includes Chris Parker on drums and Hugh Poole joining the Reverend on National Steel guitar, harmonica and vocals.d in blues.
For the most part, I am not going to describe the interviews, as they all vary greatly but they are short and interesting. Listen to them all and you will not be bored!
The first song is a long one, “Roadtrance, ” It’s a psychedelic blues jam, a combination that actually works quite well! It is followed by another original, “Dial It In,” a solo acoustic number with some hot harmonica, some pretty deep philosophy, and a catchy chorus.
Then comes the first cover, J.J Cale’s classic “Call Me The Breeze” with Patrick Coleman sharing the vocals. This gem is followed by “Inferno Avenue,” which deals with the classic battle between faith and the Devil and features Chris Parker on drums. The Rev. includes Chris Parker in an interview, encouraging him to talk about his time playing with Dylan.
“All AcroAmerica” is another softly rocking song about lessons from the road. Then “Dial It In” gets a repeat with an entirely different musical approach with the band. That leads to a fabulous version of “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” followed by an exhortation to “Lay Your Hands On the Radio” like an old-time preacher would say.
Musically, we then get one of the best versions I have ever heard of Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues,” combined with The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Who else ever thought these two would work so well together or that “Tomorrow Never Knows: could ever be a country blues? This alone is worth the cost of the album!
The Rev. then gives us a song by another Rev., Gary Davis’ “You Gotta Move,” which suits his voice and style perfectly. as does Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’, ” with some spectacular steel guitar and harmonica. There’s a fascinating discussion of that song in a clip, too.
“Hippie Bluesman Blues” is the result of an incident where Freakchild was robbed of his equipment, money, and even his clean laundry. He tells the story in the clip right before ut and even manages to find the silver lining. At least he got a good song out of it!
“Keep On Truckin'” is country blues again, with some impressive drumming from Chris Parker, steel guitar from Hugh Poo;e and smoking harmonica. What a great song this is!
It all ends up, appropriately with “The Finish Line,” a lovely song reminiscent of Dylan and George Harrison.
There is so much on this recording that it may take you a while to appreciate all of these marvelous songs and conversations. I just want to caution those who don’t care for psychedelia: don’t give up at the beginning. There are so many songs, stories, and things to think about here. Stick with it and you will feel you have made a new friend you cannot wait to hear from again!