Have Fun With God
It’s hard for me to hear Have Fun With God on its own – and surely you’re not even supposed to. It’s been made as an extrapolation from, a continuation of the journey that was started with last year’s album, Dream River.
These dub remixes sit so closely knitted – even if offering an altogether different experience – it’s a bit like The Mad Professor’s No Protection reworking of Massive Attack’s Protection or Burning Spear’s Gravey’s Ghost, the dub twin of their Marcus Garvey album.
The woozy, drippy, dribbled out, crawling new arrangements might have been revelations if the album had had some breathing space, but it’s hard to hear this so closely, so quickly and to think of it as its own creation in any way. Callahan will, of course, do what he wants, his career has shown us that, he’s told us that through his songs and in the name changes to his recording/performing moniker.
Some of the versions here are truly wonderful – all of them, maybe.
But I just can’t hear it – quite – as its own thing. Maybe time will allow that. But I can’t help but think that I would have liked to hear these treatments across a range of songs from the back-catalogue rather than the other side of the coin revealing itself so quickly after the first toss and while the first side, the one that landed first, still has its own life to live.
Still, every time I listen to this – whether straight after Dream River or as the starting point in the journey, the prelude to the original album – I am drawn in by Expanding Dub, by Call It Dub, by Transforming Dub and Highs In The Mid-40s Dub; these versions tell their own stories, and exist as some bold new move simply because you don’t expect a lyrics-heavy guy, a lyricist, a man whose music people are drawn to, first and foremost, due to the lyrical content to make something that drops his voice – and words – out of the mix, that draws on the drawl, and stretches it to create a new sound that’s still – somehow – faithful to the old sound.
Does Bill Callahan love dub? Or is this just a strange, mad folly?
Yes. I’m sure it’s one of those…