Julian Fauth – Songs Of Vice And Sorrow


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My father used to work at a radio station. They had LPs in those days, and when the grooves started to wear out, they discarded them. Once, when I was about six, my father brought home an LP called 'The Golden Blues Hour,' with 20 tracks on it: everything from Mississippi John Hurt to Buddy Guy. He gave that to me, and I've been listening to blues ever since. As a kid I used to fool around on the piano, trying to be Memphis Slim. Later I started hacking away at the guitar. In the late 80s I used to go to Mel Brown's jams in Kitchener.
When I came to Toronto in 1996, I hadn't played for several years. Then my life fell apart; tragic story; I'll never love again. I started drowning my sorrows in Kensington Market, where there was usually somebody who'd let you jam on their guitar, and where Robert Khalem had a bar with a piano in it. I met many great musicians in Kensington Market, including David Rotundo and Wayne Charles, who are on this CD. Gradually I started having 'out-of-Market-experiences'. By now I've played all over Toronto and sometimes out of town (Russia, Cuba, Chicago etc.) My lungs are full of tar and my liver is ready for the frying pan.
In 2001 I had a little CD of original songs called 'The World You Live In' on A Viva L'Arte/Campbell Records. My friends David Rotundo, Paul Reddick, Madagascar Slim and Bob Mover were on it. But I gave almost all of them away for free. Over the past year, Andrew Galloway of Electro-Fi made this CD with me. Mel Brown, Paul Reddick, David Rotundo, Wayne Charles, Al Lerman, Alec Fraser, Sam Petite and Bob Vespaziani contributed their fine musical talents. The mistakes are all mine. Andrew will put some CDs in stores, just so I don't give them all away. We re-recorded some of my songs from the first CD, and this time, we also did some covers (sort of). Don't worry; none of them is 'Mustang Sally'.
On 'Big Brazos,' I borrowed lyrics from traditional prison songs and Smokey Hogg. 'Highway 61' has echoes of Sunnyland Slim. Some of the lyrics to 'Flying Crow' are from Washboard Sam. The lyrics to 'Poor Lazarus' are from an old prison song, although I had to make up the guitar part, because the prisoners on the recordings I heard always had their hands full of picks and shovels. And 'Mojo Boogie' is a J.B. Lenoir song. That's all I stole. I had more original songs, too, but they'll have to wait for the box set.
I especially regret that I wasn't allowed to have somebody blowing his nose right after 'Suicide Note'. Speaking of suicide, I want to emphasize that I play good, clean barrelhouse blues (with occasional flights of insanity) the whole family can enjoy. There's something for everyone: murder, robbery, drugs, gang violence, prostitution… I still play most days and stay up even later when I don't, and still make up songs, which I usually forget. My gigs are rarely listed or reviewed. But there are plenty of squeegie punks, divorced business men, anarchist poets, hot club chicks, former movie stars, elderly jazz musicians and drunken comedians who know me by word of mouth and some-times come to see me.
I'd like to thank all of them, and also my family and friends (What! I do so!), Andrew Galloway and my musical confreres. You all know I sound much better when nobody's listening…
Julian Fauth, Toronto 200

Track Listing:
1. Cobalt - 5:12   2. Running - 3:36   3. Red Richard - 3:38   4. When My Mother Died - 5:13   5. Winter of '99 - 4:34   6. Big Brazos - 4:20   7. Highway 61 - 3:53   8. Spadina Avenue Stomp - 4:10   9. Liza - 3:09   10. Suicide Note - 5:32   11. Flying Crow - 4:31   12. Caving In - 3:42   13. Cocaine - 6:21   14. Poor Lazarus - 6:37   15. Mojo Boogie (J. B. Lenoir) - 2:51   16. You Can't Choose the World You Live In - 6:04

Julian Fauth (vocals, piano, guitar, foot stompin') , Mel Brown (guitar on 4) , Paul Reddick (harmonica on 1,2,6,7,9,14) , David Rotundo (harmonica on 3,11,12) , Al Lerman (harmonica on 13) , Wayne Charles (harmonica & backing vocals on 15) , Bob Vespaziani (drums) , Sam Petite (bass on 7,11,15) , Alec Fraser (bass on 3,9,13, percussion on 2)


1. AllMusic - Stewart Mason
The love child of Mississippi John Hurt and Billy Childish, Julian Fauth is an interesting mix of the old, the very old, and the merely retro. "Cobalt," the opening track on Songs of Vice and Sorrow, is a punky, five-minute blues for heavily distorted electric guitar and ghostly harmonica that trades in the post-punk atmospherics of Nick Cave as much as it does the old Delta blues. (Fauth also bears a strong vocal resemblance to Richard Thompson at times, but never more so than on this particular song.) Other songs find Fauth pounding a rollicking Texas-style piano blues, assaying a handful of traditional blues and folk tunes, kicking it boogie-woogie style and throwing in a Mose Allison-styled, strangely tuned, soul-jazz piano pounder called "Spadina Avenue Stomp" in honor of one of his adopted hometown's major thoroughfares. That sense of local color is important: if Fauth was a middle-aged, balding Canadian dude trying to be "Mister Authentic Blues," that would be exceedingly lame. But from the Victorian ragamuffin cover photo to the weird mix of influences all over this double-album-length CD, Songs of Vice and Sorrow is a unique, idiosyncratic, and often fascinating statement.

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