April 17, 2012

Early in the morning time, late in the middle of the night...



So I woke up at 2:30a.m. this morning with the song above going through my head.  It's a fun little ditty by a guy I'd never heard of until recently, Little Willie John, that I've been listening to over and over for days.  The tune came to my attention via, you guessed it, Jack White.  News of Jack's first solo album hit the 'net back at the end of January and the fact that he'd chosen this song as the only cover for his debut was, along with the two singles so far released (Love Interruption and Sixteen Saltines), one of the few clues of what was in store on Blunderbuss.  The record itself, which I ordered as soon as was humanly possible, isn't due out until next week and I've been counting down the days in anticipation since the beginning of this month.  So I had it firmly in mind that I would listen for the first time when my order arrived and I had that vinyl platter in my hand, with the record sleeve and the liner notes and the lyrics.  Of course, this being the 21st century (Hah! You'll get that joke when you hear a certain song), the album leaked a week early and then was made available as an official webstream via iTunes.  Nope, said I, gonna wait for my record, I've been too well indoctrinated into Jack's culture of tangible vinyl to do otherwise.  Plus, there's that countdown of mine, like a kid waiting for Christmas and being too good to poke around in all the closets, preferring to wait for the big presentation and all the surprises.  But then I woke up with Little Willie in my head and the urge to find out just what Jack did with Willie's tune overwhelmed me.

This is not a track-by-track review, I've nothing yet but middle-of-the-night, first-listen impressions, and vague, half-formed, need-the-damned-lyrics ones at that.  The one thing I'll say for sure is that when the last song ended, there were tears running down my face.  One of the reviews of Blunderbuss that I've read over the last few days said it best--  Something along the lines of "It's not that Jack White couldn't write complex songs, he just didn't, and now that he is the whole world's open before him."  My one overriding thought after one listen to this record is that there's nothing he can't do.  No instrument he couldn't work with, no genre or style he couldn't dabble in, no musical mood he'd leave untouched.  Sure, upon reflection that's probably hyperbole but, like I said, this is just first impressions in the middle of the night.  There's so much to digest on this record, it's so completely unexpected despite what I know of his catalog and all of the detailed reviews I've read over the past weeks, that I can't even decide yet if I like it or which songs stand out for me.  But one thing I'm damned certain of is that once I do have that record in my hand, I won't be listening to anything else for a long, long while.  



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