Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blank and Blues: Chord Organ Blues

Daniel Johnston: Chord Organ Blues


Daniel Johnston, perhaps the best songwriter the world has seen. The Beatles mixed with Randy Newman, carefully blended with a mental illness or two and topped off with an enthusiasm few can match.

The latter is to me a key component to his brilliance, and the main reason I prefer his earlier material from the first half of the 80s to his later work when he was still a hyperactive kid brimful of youthful exuberance recording ditties inbetween bouncing off the walls. There's just something about the unbridled energy of his earliest recordings I can't resist. 100% envigorating and life-affirming, despite the often bleak themes.

The lo-lo-lo-fi audio quality of these early recordings, his yelping, lisping voice and penchant for pouncing the keys of his chord organ so hard you can barely hear the notes he's playing are an acquired taste for sure, but anyone with a soft spot for classic pop with great hooks needs Daniel Johnston in their life.

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