Monday, January 02, 2006

Gary Higgins - Red Hash CD (Drag City)

This pastoral, hypnotic self-released stoner folk disk from ’73 gets the deluxe reish treatment with lyrics, photos, mastering from the original tapes and bonus tracks—but no liner notes. Still, the facts of the dope-related prison term Higgins served right after his album was released add and subtract little to the whole. He has a lovely, boyish voice, warm and whispery, complementing the low key arrangements swelling with cello, flute and mandolin. He also had a more aggressive and humorous side, as shown in the Beefheart-voxed “Down on the Farm.” The songs have that rare mix of quietness and great force that demand attention, and while they become a bit monochromatic over the course of the whole album, the best are simply much too good to stay lost.

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