The Mekons and Freakwater have been friends for decades, forged in the punk rock/art school crucibles of late '70s Leeds and mid '80s Louisville respectively. Both bands mined British folk and American classic country music for three-chord songs whose lyrics fit the nihilism or political rage or outlandish joy of the moment. Many of these songs were about coal mining. Traditional songs about heroic union organizers, deadly mine disasters, wailing orphans, or mining's grim history of economic and ecological devastation fit seamlessly alongside each band's original material. And so it is with FREAKONS.
Deep pit mines, strip mines, mountaintop removal, collapsing slag heaps. Deadly work, poisoned water, and fantastic songs. Always fantastic songs. This is where the FREAKONS were born, from the very bowels of the earth.
The Mekons' Jon Langford & Sally Timms and Freakwater's Janet Bean & Catherine Irwin are joined here by the stellar string and vocal harmonies of Jean Cook (Ida, Tara Jane O'Neil, Skull Orchard) and Anna Krippenstapel (The Other Years, Joan Shelley, Freakwater), along with special guest, the beloved guitar genius Jim Elkington (Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson, Eleventh Dream Day, Horse's Ha, Skull Orchard, Freakwater, The Zincs).
Belgian painter Jo Clauwaert created the album's intricate gatefold cover. Images from song lyrics and related history emerge and recede again in this gorgeously illustrated artistic fever dream. The story of coal mining is one of ongoing pillage and ecological devastation. It is also a story of heroic workers, struggling in blighted circumstances to feed their families. The songs and the culture that have risen from the mines deserve our attention. A portion of the profits from the FREAKONS record will go to Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, a grassroots organization dedicated to creating a better future for the Appalachian region. Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC.ORG) works to end mountaintop-removal coal mining, and to promote political candidates who care about social, environmental and economic justice and the transition to clean, renewable resources.
- Dark Lords Of The Mine
- Chestnut Blight
- Abernant 84-85
- Judy Belle Thompson
- Black Leg Miner
- Phoebe Snow
- Mannington Mine
- Never Thought I's See The Day
- Dreadful Memories
- Coorie Doon
- Blue Scars Of A Miner
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