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JAD FAIR

Jad Fair

100 Songs (A Master Class In Songwriting)

    There are plenty of performers who rock critics describe by using the label "primitive," but few if any can hold a candle to the greatest American rock primitive Jad Fair - With his wildly influential band Half Japanese or as a solo performer, Fair has constructed a prolific and extremely interesting career.

    He writes and records songs that display an uncomplicated emotional directness, unselfconscious charm and warmth, and a genial simplicity that is beyond words. From Jad: "I set a goal for myself to release 100 albums in a year's time. I was able to pass that mark. I released over 150 albums. This album is a "best of" compilation of the songs recorded that year. It's 100 songs chosen from 160 albums."

    TRACK LISTING

    Disc 1
    Side 1

    1. Worm Boy
    2. Star
    3. We Have To
    4. Our Now Is Forever
    5. We Made Ourselves A Promise
    6. Not The Same No More
    7. The Love Club
    8. Rising Star
    9. Garbage Man
    10. Zombies Walk The Earth
    11. Too Late
    12. Together We Will
    13. Witch
    14. It Is Them
    15. Choose Your Own Future
    16. Embrace Love
    17. June Or July
    18. All Around Us
    19. Sunshine Happiness
    20. No Secret
    21. Day In The Sun
    22. Whenever
    23. Ghost Of Frankenstein
    24. Apple, Pear And Peach
    25. Curses

    Side 2

    1. Love Love
    2. So Far So Good
    3. The House
    4. Wonderful
    5. Son Of A Gun
    6. Stupid Kicks
    7. Perfectly Dreadful
    8. Them
    9. Coffee
    10. Run Away Home
    11. Even Smaller
    12. You And Me
    13. Vicious Circle
    14. Hear The Call
    15. Our Eyes
    16. Time For Love
    17. The Laughing Monster
    18. Invigorate Your Life
    19. Got It Made
    20. Stayed At Home
    21. The Invasion
    22. Honey Bear
    23. Open The Door
    24. On My Palm
    25. Not Too Late

    Disc 2
    Side 1

    1. Night Of The Devil Bat
    2. Slime
    3. Safety Net
    4. Chase Away
    5. Only One
    6. Afraid Of Nothing
    7. Life In The Suburbs
    8. It's Wonderful
    9. Mission Accomplished
    10. True Love Is Here
    11. Spinning Around
    12. Your Wish
    13. The Moth Man
    14. Make The Pieces Fit
    15. What Else Is New?
    16. It's Alive
    17. One Thing Only
    18. The Welcome Mat
    19. Sunshine
    20. Out There
    21. No One Knows For Sure
    22. Our Way
    23. Listen To The Birds
    24. What Can We Do?
    25. Viva Love

    Side 2
    1. Alright
    2. Two Of A Kind
    3. Pale Green Pants
    4. The Word Yes
    5. The Vampires Are Back
    6. The Biggest Big
    7. In Its Net
    8. Over Our Heads
    9. Without A Clue
    10. Haunted Home
    11. He Has His Nerve
    12. The Knack
    13. The Junk Pile
    14. Probably Alright
    15. Shrunken Head
    16. Haunted Hill
    17. How It's Done
    18. In The Eyes
    19. Invading Our Planet
    20. Why?
    21. Better Good Times
    22. Right From The Start
    23. Flashing Lights
    24. Magic
    25. It's Alright

    In 1974 Jad and David Fair teamed up to form a band called Half Japanese. The route was simple, at first. If one pounded on drums the other could squeeze sounds from an electric guitar. There were no other band members to stay in tune with, so there was no particular reason for them to worry about tuning the guitar in a traditional manner or learning traditional chords. They were free from the start to express their music in their own way. They traded off the guitar and drumming rolls. Whichever one sang the words also played the guitar and the other one drummed. For a couple of years they wrote, recorded and performed this way, without the convention of more members. When they did decide to expand they went big. They first thought of recruiting an outside drummer, so that both could play guitars at the same time.

    In 2014 Jad and David stripped things back to the roots. They went back to recording as a duo. One sang and played guitar, the other one drummed. 40 years had passed, but they slipped right back into the original roles and churned out a number of breath-stealing songs. 40 years later; 40 years better. One pick, two sticks and heart-warming vocals...... That's all they needed; two brothers, still rockin' the same damn deal! 

    The words and primary voice are those of Jad Fair, that enduringly idiosyncratic artist revered in discerning pockets of the global indie rock underground for decades. Danielson’s Daniel Smith has long admired Fair, drawing inspiration from Half Japanese (the band Fair formed with his brother in the ‘70s) on through to his prolific career today. Their discussions of collaborating finally came to fruition when Joyful Noise Recordings designated Fair its “Artist In Residence” for 2014 and Danielson was tapped as one of 4 artists (including R. Stevie Moore; Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake; and Strobe Talbot) to record separate respective albums with him for a boxed-set limited release.

    “Flattered and honored” is how Smith sums up his feelings about the project -- and grateful to get a game-plan for what always seemed a complementary pairing. Sounds Familyre will be doing their own non-limited release of Solid Gold Heart in June, on CD, digital and gold vinyl. The 11 tracks of sweet collaboration collected under said title sound like what you might expect, given the respective artists: gleaming tunes of sincere sing-speak, resplendent with sparkling back-up vocals and warmly melodic, inventive instrumentation; a sunshine-bright outlook of positive encouragement to keep “rockin’ on the side of gooood” -- because, after all, “We deserve chocolate cake/ We deserve apple pie/ Enjoy your life ...”

    The collaborative process commenced with Fair sending Smith his unique vocal demos of recited lyrics with articulated mouthsound musical qualities (some bits remain in the final mixes). Smith then wrote music for each chosen track, eventually getting Fair and drummer Gilles Rieder into his Clarksboro, NJ studio to record their parts during a few hours break from touring. Aside from Smith’s own guitar-playing and singing throughout the album, there were contributions made by his brothers David and Andrew on percussion, and sisters Rachel and Megan along with wife Elin on vocals. Spicing things up at Fair’s behest were members of Texas art-polka band Brave Combo: Carl Finch on accordion and keys; Jeffrey Barnes on sax and woodwinds; and Danny O’Brien on trumpet. Bringing things full-circle was Kramer (Shockabilly, Bongwater, B.A.L.L. et al.) on bass, who also co-mixed and mastered the album.

    The result is a beguiling blend that builds off each participant’s strengths, truly a fresh sum that is greater than its parts. “The goal was to make 3-minute pop songs, as accessible and fun and immediate as possible,” notes Smith. And that’s what you’ll hear, each track an uplifting, mutually enhanced concoction. Anyone who ever had a Solid Gold Heart -- wouldn’t they want to turn around and share it? Of course they would. Jad Fair and Danielson are happy to offer up theirs.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Go Ahead
    2. Rockin On The Good Side
    3. Ready Steady
    4. Here We Stand
    5. Solid Gold Heart
    6. With The Knowledge 
    7. Apple Apple
    8. Not No
    9. On And On
    10. You Got Me In A Spin
    11. Here’s Our Time


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