Search - Johnny Dowd :: Wrong Side of Memphis

Wrong Side of Memphis
Johnny Dowd
Wrong Side of Memphis
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

This Checkered Past debut may be the most willfully spooky album I've ever heard. The opening track, "Murder," sounds like it was sung through a pillow snuffing out Dowd's life, while the ghost of a Delta bluesman grooves ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Johnny Dowd
Title: Wrong Side of Memphis
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Koch Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2001
Re-Release Date: 5/22/2001
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Style: Americana
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 099923822622

This Checkered Past debut may be the most willfully spooky album I've ever heard. The opening track, "Murder," sounds like it was sung through a pillow snuffing out Dowd's life, while the ghost of a Delta bluesman grooves and taunts from the shadows. Dowd doesn't play his instruments--squeeze box, pump organ, tambourine, warped acoustic, reverbed-to-death guitar--so much as he tortures them expertly. The results aren't pretty. But they are magnetic, and will fascinate followers of Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, or Cormac McCarthy's hard-to-take messages from America's dark underbelly. --Roy Francis Kasten

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CD Reviews

Songs about Murder
ibis_mummy | 06/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In this, Johnny Dowd's first effort, the mark of a true artist can be seen. Combining haunting images with minimalistic guitar and and drums, this album suceeds in territory both strange and eery.Johnny Dowd's voice creeps out like a snake in the gravel: part Tom Waits, part Jim White, and wavery like a wet dixie cup in the wind. The songs, filled with murder, betrayal and loneliness, are expertly crafted and show a life overflowing with experience. Stand out tracks like "Average Guy" (in which Dowd explores a psyche that's anything BUT average) and "Welcome Jesus" have a fairly stripped down sound that really showcases Johnny Dowd's vocal stylings while providing a stark contrast to the strange subject matter of his lyrics.Fans of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith should relish in the oddity that is Johnny Dowd."
An axe everyone should get in their head
kenneth bringsdal | norway | 03/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is johnny`s debut album and it`s bluesbased murderballads with some really nasty lines. The opener "murder" is the frontdoor to his sick ,but lovely world of death , rapes and crime. His last album is even better , but i recomend this album.This is music for the days that you really hate the ladies."
A damnably impressive debut
G. Moses | Men...Of...The...Sea! | 01/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Maybe all aspiring musicians should wait they're fifty or so to actually release albums. It would give them time to gain a little extra wisdom and to hone their craft, and of course it would render that nasty bit where you lose focus and become irrelevant as you become middle-aged a moot point.It's certainly difficult to imagine what Dark Side of Memphis would have sounded like had Dowd recorded it twenty-five years ago. Age and experience are indelibly etched into this music, and for that it is all the more exciting. This is very, very barebones stuff--Dowd's gravelly singing, a little gee-tar, a few keyboards, and occasional unobtrusive backing vocals from the incomparable Kim Sherwood-Caso, and that's about all--but it works out brilliantly. Not every song here is a classic--'Ballad of Frank and Jesse James' never really goes anywhere, and 'John Deere Yeller,' though amusing in its own way, is really just a little too hard to swallow. But the ones that are good--which is most of them--are very good indeed. The menacing growl of 'Papa Oh Papa' is perhaps the great Nick Cave song that never was; 'Wages of Sin' is the archetypal blues 'lead a bad life, going to hell now' song done as well as it's ever been; and the uneasy closer, 'Welcome Jesus,' seems all too apropos for 2003. "Welcome, Jesus, to this dismal swamp," Dowd drawls. "Were you hoping for something a little better?"Perhaps wisely, Dowd would expand his musical horizons dramatically for subsequent albums, but his debut remains an impressive testament. It doesn't really sound like Tom Waits, but I have no doubt that Waits fans will dig it anyway. And in any case, you can at least profit from the hip cachet that comes from listening to independent music. You can't lose. Pick it up for sure."