Sharps & Flats

One-man band Bob Log III makes the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion look like blues night at the local jazz club.

By Jason Ferguson

Published November 2, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

As one-half of the trash-blues duo known as Doo Rag, Bob Log III has helped demystify and deconstruct the basic tenets of electric blues. Harnessing the raw, bristling energy of the genre and amplifying only the raunchiest aspects, Doo Rag made the crash-and-burn attitude of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion sound like blues night at the local jazz bar. And even though the concept of a two-man blues band is about as stripped-down as electric blues can get, Log has taken it one step lower: the one-man blues band.

One night a few years back in Chicago, Doo Rag percussionist Thermos Malling got sick, leaving Log to play by himself. Making lemonade out of lemons, Log turned his guitar case into a makeshift drum kit and eviscerated the blues with his electric guitar. The show was successful enough that Log started a one-man blues band. Last year, he released "School Bus," an LP full of loose footstomps and recklessly sloppy -- and fast -- guitars.

For the follow-up, Log enlisted two "professional women" to help out with the rhythm section. Note the word choice in the liner notes: "professional women," not "female studio musicians." In other words -- those of Bob Log III, actually -- "Trike" is an album of "guitar and tit duets." Both women were paid to smack their breasts to deliver percussive nuances on songs like "Clap Your Tits," "Booby Trap" and six under-20-seconds "Claps" interludes. Thus, we find Log's maniacally aggressive slide guitar and two-foot drumming accompanied by the fleshy (and surprisingly on-beat) collision of some no-doubt large breasts. It's neither funny nor disgusting. It's simply the dumbest thing you've ever heard in your life. And it's absolutely wonderful.

After all, just when you thought the Fat Possum label couldn't get any more cracked, after releasing nasty, ass-out jams by Robert Cage and T-Model Ford, it has further removed itself from the blues mainstream by releasing what may well be the purest, non-purist blues album in years. After all, there is nothing -- nothing -- here for fans of Taj Mahal or B.B. King. Bob Log III is the sound of rockabilly kicked back a dozen or so notches, then mainlined with coffee and whiskey for a week. It's raw, it's rude and it's very, very raucous.

Jason Ferguson

Jason Ferguson is a freelance music writer in South Carolina.

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