Friday, September 6, 2013

Jobriath "Amazing Dope Tales"

(Guest Review by Jonathan Poletti) (EschatoneIt takes the world awhile to catch up to Roctober but you like to note progress. The Jobriath appreciation way back in issue #25 (summer 1999) set in motion an effort by the ill-fated Rhino Handmade to release the glam un-star's fairly extensive unreleased catalogue, to include "one of the most exciting items ever to emerge on eBay" as David Thompson once wrote: "a reel of unreleased material recorded by Jobriath with producer Eddie Kramer, shortly before he signed to Elektra." Now in 2013 three tracks off the 1971 demo reel are released by the maverick genius Jed Davis of Eschatone Records, who promises more, including hopefully Jobriath's resulting 1972 album. But check out "As the River Flows," his ode to time. It takes a closer listening: what could be a generic "oh whoa ohh oohhh" is in his transcription "oh woe" — a reminder he was a tragedian & his view of life & himself star-crossed. For the studio version he'd draw on his teenage direction of church choirs & haul in a chorus from the casts of HAIR and Jesus Christ Superstar. The refrain — "As the river flows / so must you and I" — would not have been as dark to them as I hear it now. "Must" is the key: in a hymn to a universe with no God in it, he's impelled forward to the scene, two years later, of his crucifixion by media & his life's grim end. 

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