Play: Captain Calypso's Hoodoo Party

EM 1065CD EM 1065CD

Britain's bohemian/beat, poetry/writer, and musician who headed The Milkshakes and The Headcoast, Billy Childish appeared as Wild Billy playing Caribbean music with his one-night group The Blackhands (what a cool name!). Whole tunes were recorded in a kitchen room in 1988, using only one microphone in the span of a single day. Assembling a coterie of friends and players as the Blackhands -- notably including a trumpeter, one Dave -- Childish turned in a loose and lively romp through originals and covers both -- yet one more collection of rough and tumble wiggery from the man. Hoodoo is the sound of folks playing for their own enjoyment and having a fun time while they're at it. It's not quite rock, not exactly calypso, definitely not lounge, and not really big band jazz, but somehow the Blackhands make it all sound like a fusion of it all, like a record dropped somewhere out of the '30s or the late '40s into the present. Childish sends his vocals through some light effects, or maybe it's just the mike, giving it a mid-century scratchiness. His banjo takes the basic lead, but Dave's trumpet provides the flair, and even if it's not always note-perfect, that's hardly the point. Vocals from Ludella and Kyra provide a nice contrast, sometimes taking lead and sometimes pairing up with Childish in duets, while Seamus on accordion adds more fills and fun to it all. Everything kicks off with the old standard "Rum 'n Coca-Cola," delivered with an infectious glee -- the punchy drums from Richard add to the entertainment. Other oldies include the calypso number "Underneath The Mango Tree," "I Love Paris (In The Springtime)," and the Champs' legendary instrumental "Tequila." Even The Sex Pistols' anthem is given a hilarious and energetic run-through. Hearing Childish play the opening riff on banjo is reason enough to give this an ear.