Published on June 29th, 2012 | by TLV News0
Record Of The Issue – Tav Falco’s “Behind The Magnolia Curtain”
by Wallace Lester – originally published in The Local Voice #159
If you’ve ever found yourself swaying in front of your turntable, loaded on a pint of bourbon and two and a half joints, trying to figure what record is going to sound just right, then you need to get your drunken ass down to The End of All Music and purchase Fat Possum’s reissue of Tav Falco’s Panther Burns first album, Behind the Magnolia Curtain. Like most great things musical that have come out of Memphis in the last half century, Jim Dickinson is there at the beginning. When Tav asked Dickinson if he could make an opening statement for a Mudboy & The Neutrons show at the Orpheum, Jim said, “Sure, why not.” Tav then proceeded use a chain saw on an amplified electric guitar. Alex Chilton was in the audience and took note. Later Tav and Alex hooked up and The Panther Burns came in to being.
Armed with a bucket of fried chicken and lots of bourbon the band recorded the album in six hours at Memphis’ Ardent Studios on a June day in 1981. Behind the Magnolia Curtain has been called art-rock, post-punk, psychobilly, garage rock, and worse. The album is a demented Memphis take on blues, rockabilly, and rock and roll. Tav took an unnamed RL Burnside song and, with The Tate County Fife & Drum Corps featuring Jessie Mae Hemphill laying down the groove and the famous RL riff, you’ve got the best art-damaged version of “Snakedrive” you’ll ever hear (it was Tav who came up with the title).
Fans of Hill Country Blues and Downtown NYC art/punk need this record. Loose, sloppy, raw, noisy, and f**ked up don’t even begin to describe the fun that can be found on this record. The packaging and liner notes are also excellent. So call your dealer, hit the local liquor store, and get yourself to Oxford’s only kick-ass record store to purchase this album. Turn this shit up and give voice to all the great things to be found in shopping and listening local.