Search - Tav Falco & Panther Burns :: Behind the Magnolia Curtain / Blow Your Top

Behind the Magnolia Curtain / Blow Your Top
Tav Falco & Panther Burns
Behind the Magnolia Curtain / Blow Your Top
Genres: Alternative Rock, Rock
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1


CD Details

All Artists: Tav Falco & Panther Burns
Title: Behind the Magnolia Curtain / Blow Your Top
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Triple X Records
Release Date: 6/30/1994
Genres: Alternative Rock, Rock
Styles: Oldies & Retro, Roots Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 021075112023

CD Reviews

Crystal meth, corn liquor, and strange tang in leopard spot
Bachelier | Ile de France | 10/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To say that this album is the birth of psychobilly would be too much (perhaps that crown goes to the Cramps, but more appropriately to the original artists of the genre that inspired them both), yet Gustavo Nelson (`Tav Falco') and Alex Chilton were ahead of their time when they recorded Behind the Magnolia Curtain. Chilton's production and minimalist guitar licks were clearly taking their inspiration from Jim Dickinson's `clear signal and a light hand' technique, and the chaotic tone evident in Behind the Magnolia Curtain both bespoke of the l'air du temps, and the Memphis music circle of the time: an incestuous group who all knew each other and each others' musical capabilities, on a sliding scale, which included Leeza Aldrich's "The Klitz," Hull and Chertow's "The Randy Band," Branyan and Burns's "The Scruffs" and a host of bands and musicians even more obscure and less skilled. Nelson and Chilton threw the scale away when they plucked talent for this recording, and Chilton began his "man called destruction" imago from the wreckage. Backbeat courtesy of Mr. Ross Johnson.

I witnessed `Tav Falco's' debut solo performance at "The Well" in Memphis, where, --perhaps for the first time--he "played" a Hofner fiddle guitar (not a Beatle Bass, a guitar). "Falco" proceeded to produce as much feedback as possible while shrieking a version of "Train Kept a Rollin'" - which he either extended for 30 minutes or played multiple versions of in succession, depending on your interpretation. Within weeks he had formed a band, and soon was roaming the streets of Midtown Memphis on his vintage Italian motor scooter and plastering his oddly visual handbills advertising his art scenes at "The Well" various other improbable locations.

To characterize Panther Burns as No Wave during this recording would be to name the baby too soon. The boundaries between artist and audience were thin during this time, since only a handful of Memphians could stand the cacophony that is all too faithfully recorded here. Yet A Panther Burns show had both a hypnotic and irresistible appeal, for, after all, even if it was crazy, there actually was something going on in the swamp on Saturday night. Best bring a lanthorn and go.

In addition to Falco's invitations to arrive and gain free admission if you wore a diaper to his performances (true), the show frequently featured Southern Belles in full lace cotillion dresses and satin shoes dancing in a slow groove towards a carnal and decadent madness that bespoke the "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" persona from which arose its inspiration. You knew the evening would end on a long dark country road with an inappropriate song coming from the radio while you washed blood from a wound with whisky.

The music that was standard and acceptable during this era in Memphis was a payola horror of boogie, soft rock, and no rock, for this was a town where z-list bands such as "Foghat" sold out the largest arena. So desperate were the residents to hear anything that was not programmed straight for the boardrooms of Capitol Records they'd listen to anything, and for this birthplace Panther Burns had fertile ground. Chilton and Nelson were taking pages from inspiration that was rejecting ascendant and bland Southern Calvinist culture in favor of the poor white Scotts-Irish meet the creepy mixed-blood French Catholic Arcadians, and a good time was had by all. This album, therefore, is both timeless and a product of its time. By reaching back to the roots of `rock and roll' Chilton and Nelson gave it new life and a new audience. By Falco's tireless appeal towards both the visual and the random of a sonic event, he made both this album and his shows lively and bursting with gothic potential. And by refusing to polish songs until they became lifeless, Panther Burns invoked the Dionysian over the apollonian at a time when even punk bands strove for the production values of a Steely Dan record. Falco and Chilton just said, and said loudly, that that was all wrong. The music world has been better for it, and this classic album should return to print."
Cool and Twice'st as Gone!
musicburgler | DC | 12/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A wierdo from Arkansas records a live studio session of cover songs and tributes all in one take in Memphis. Thow in a burned out teen pop star, liqour and a North Mississippi fife and drum corps.
What you get is an original oddity, a one of a kind romp through the muddy delta swamp so thick with kudzu that ol' Bill Faulkner couldn't find his way back home.
Tav Falco's voice is not drenched in reverb, he don't need it. LX Chilton's guitar licks are mangled out of time feedback prone and hazy.
And in the background keeping everything together are the Tate County Drum corps, with their pre-Civil War era syncopation and African rhythmns, among them Jessie Mae Hemphill.
This debut album finds the Panther Burns channeling and desconstructing the ghosts of the Deep South like Johnny Burnette, Leadbelly, WC Handy, Carl Perkins, Junior Wells, Jerry Lee Lewis even a little Elvis.
Its a good thing this is out of print and hard to get cause most people couldn't handle such an incendiary sound.
How can this be out of print?
Hank Schwab | Indianapolis, IN USA | 11/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Is there no justice? How can this be out of print? This was a project of Alex Chilton, produced right around the time he was producing the first Cramps albums. Each song was evidently recorded in one take, probably while intoxicated, and I'm not sure all the musicians had heard the music before. Tav Falco does a dead-on Johnny Burnett impression, and the result is raw, sloppy and fun. The Cramps in comparison sound like seasoned professionals."