Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog
What I Did On My Long Vacation
Knockwurst Music / Preposterous Bee Music / Wazir & Malika Music
A get back to the studio project, a just shut up and play project, a lockdown mini album – this EP by Marc and his Ceramic Dog is really the starting point for a full album to arrive soon. In fact it’s the start of a hive of activity – a memoir in essays, a book of lyrics, reissues of early albums with extra tracks, brand new recordings and some archival live concert releases – it’s all happening. Marc Ribot reacts to lockdown by opening up the vaults and the floodgates. Good. Good!
I’ve said previously about his Ceramic Dog band, a sort of subversion of the power-trio, that it’s almost as if Ribot has collected up the bits of the guitar that Hendrix left on the stage back in Monterey as part of a fiery sacrifice and has pieced together his own version of it to record the leftover squall. Gosh, but he is everything when he wants to be – rockabilly weirdo, avant jazzer, soul sideman, agit punk, and all of them imbued with the spirit of guitar heroism – here on a handful of new songs he is sometimes Sonny Sharrock (The Dead Have Come To Stay With Me), sometimes Frank Zappa (We Crashed In Norway) and sometimes he’s the mid-point in the Venn diagram (Hippies Are Not Nice Anymore).
Things start of funky – and a little silly (Beer) and you might imagine Bill Callahan writing lyrics for Shellac. Then there’s low-key Zappa-meets-Shuggie Otis noodling (Who Was That Masked Man?) ahead of the return to Tom Waits-sideman weirdo hooks of Dog Death Opus and look, frankly, all of it is fabulous.
Ches Smith is on drums and percussion, Shahzad Ismaily (New Zealanders might recognise the name from his recent visit to our shores as a member of Laurie Anderson’s ensemble, where he was primarily a percussionist and vocalist) drives the songs with his chunky bass playing. And on the EPs opener (Crashed in Norway) there’s a guest appearance from Darius Jones, adding some Lounge Lizards-esque alto sax.
God, I love this stuff. It just makes me look forward to the full album. As always with Ribot, I hear some and want more and more. And more.