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Muleskinner Jones

Posted: October 8th, 2004, by Stuart Fowkes

“Swing your partner by the head

Don’t let him go ’til he’s good ‘n’ dead”

Muleskinner Jones (aka James Closs) must be back, then… Death Row Hoedown is the first we’ve heard from him since his ‘Terrible Stories’ EP in 2002, and it’s his best yet. Taking a Nick Cavesque relish in horrible stories of death and murder, the Muleskinner’s music, Apple Powerbook and the occasional reference to Nintendo and Kwiksave notwithstanding, still sounds firmly rooted in 1890s smalltown America: ‘So Long, Mary Jones’ would have made a fitting soundtrack to James Marsh’s beautifully shot deathumentary Wisconsin Death Trip.

His folk-death-polka is tremendously macabre fun – all death’s head grins, pretty yet ill-fated girls, and the best bit of ostentatious harm wished upon landlords since the Jesus Lizard packed their thumbscrews away. The title track is the most straightforward, a galloping hoedown of undertakers swinging each other round an electric chair, while ‘Concrete Swamp’s booming vaudeville is what might happen if ever Tom Waits and The Cramps cross paths. In the Jack Daniel’s distillery, naturally. A healthily tongue-in-cheek obsession with murder the way it ought to be committed (y’know, hands-on, under a moonlight sky. With a gin bottle.) and some fascinating musical concoctions – strike me down if this ain’t the best little whorehouse in Texas.

More: Muleskinner Jones

Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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