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Executioner's Last Songs
     

The Executioner's Last Songs

by Jon Langford
 
It's a great idea, an album to benefit the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project, and who better to execute it (pun intended) than the linchpin of the Chicago alt-country movement, Mekons and Waco Brother member Jon Langford? He's reassembled the occasional Pine Valley Cosmonauts to back a bunch of artists on tales of death, murder, and execution. There's

Overview

It's a great idea, an album to benefit the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project, and who better to execute it (pun intended) than the linchpin of the Chicago alt-country movement, Mekons and Waco Brother member Jon Langford? He's reassembled the occasional Pine Valley Cosmonauts to back a bunch of artists on tales of death, murder, and execution. There's everything from the traditional and gruesome ("Knoxville Girl" from Brett Sparks and a very powerful, gritty "Tom Dooley" by Steve Earle, as graphic as any gangsta rap) to straight-up country (Johnny Paycheck's "Pardon Me (I've Got Someone to Kill)," which these days stands almost as a parody of a country song, albeit a chilling one), all the way to standards (post-punk feminist icon Jenny Toomey on a lovely acoustic rendition of Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets"), punk (the Adverts' "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" interpreted by Dean Schlabowske), and originals (Johnny Dowd's "Judgement Day," among others). It's an odd assemblage, but it hangs together very well, not just because of the thematic content, but also the intensity of the performances, like Edith Frost's luminous "Sing Me Back Home" or Dianne Izzo's raw take on "Oh Death." Apart from contributing guitar and some vocals throughout, Langford does get a couple of moments in the spotlight, duetting on the Dowd cut, then on "The Plans We Made," a tale of love gone awfully wrong that he sings with fellow Mekon Sally Timms. There's no bad cut here, although Tony Fitzpatrick's "Idiot Whistle" proselytizes a little too much, and "The Hangman's Song" from Christa Meyer and Tim Kelley of Puerto Muerto is just plain weird. But this album makes its points in very plain, blunt terms, and offers some excellent music along the way. If you still don't think music and politics can mix, start here.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/19/2002
Label:
Bloodshot Records
UPC:
0744302007427
catalogNumber:
20074
Rank:
62906

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jon Langford   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Rosie Flores   Track Performer
Janet Beveridge Bean   Track Performer
Drew Carson   Mandola
Steve Goulding   Drums
Kelly Hogan   Track Performer
Tim Kelley   Track Performer
Sally Timms   Track Performer
Tom Ray   Banjo,Ukulele,Double Bass
Jenny Toomey   Track Performer
Edith Frost   Track Performer
Neko Case   Track Performer
Lonesome Bob   Track Performer
Brett Sparks   Track Performer
Ken Sluiter   Background Vocals
Paul Burch   Track Performer
Johnny Dowd   Track Performer
Deanna Varagona   Vocal Harmony
Amy Domingues   Piano,Cello
Diane Izzo   Track Performer
Jon Rauhouse   Banjo
Dan Massey   Drums
Tony Fitzpatrick   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Johnny Paycheck   Composer
Shel Silverstein   Composer
Henry Paul   Composer
Bernice Johnson Reagon   Composer
Lynn Davis   Composer
Jon Langford   Paintings
Aubrey Mayhew   Composer
Ken Sluiter   Engineer
Jon Rauhouse   Engineer
Steve Allen   Engineer
Molly Davis   Composer
Robert G. Chaney   Composer

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