The kings of Memphis rock ‘n’ talk are back! Jeffrey Evans (Gibson Bros. and ‘68 Comeback) and Ross Johnson (Panther Burns and Alex Chilton) are performing again as a duo—a project they started back in the 2000s with a residency at The Buccaneer (RIP) and captured on the Vanity Session LP. This single includes covers of “Caldonia” and “Cotton Fields.” Limited to 300 copies.
When Baron Ross Johnson and Monsuier Jeffrey Evans hang out, it is anyone's guess as to what kind of devilry may happen. Bad jokes and tales of misspent youth are common and a spilled drink of some sort is not unexpected. It also usually leads to music being made.
Reverberating like they recorded this at the bottom of a handle of Dickel No. 8, the two bang away at two deep south folk standards, mangling something that has been heard done a billion ways into something ripped bare and bleeding. If you're familiar with the Original Panther Burns single that Spacecase released a few months back, this has the same stripped-down hanging out in a living room feel. The difference though is that the record Ross did with Tav sounds like a dapper afternoon. This is very late night and rumpled.
"Caldonia" gets battered and then left for dead in an auto salvage yard. Backward and blanging blues bite from Mr. Evans six strings as he howls, while Mr. Johnson taps and whacks a rhythm that paces a path only it knows. Sounding like he's using trash cans lids as cymbals, the metallic crash and rattle give the whole thing a before there was an Einstürzende Neubauten there were hillbillies.
"Cotton Fields" bursts out, gets all wobbly, breaks down and then falls into an oddly shaped pocket and then catches a countryside stride. The only thing missing was a choir of barroom angels to join in on the chorus.
--Dale Merrill, Smashin’ Transistors