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Sound Advice

The Flyer's music writers tell you where you can go.



I'm going to take a wild guess. Remember that episode of The Jetsons where Judy falls in love with a rockabilly singer named Jet Screamer? I'm thinking that singer was based not on Elvis Presley or on Conway Twitty but on the all-but-forgotten Hasil Adkins, who is playing the P&H Cafe on Friday, December 21st. Now that may be pushing it since Adkins was never exactly a huge star. Still, it's hard to hear the animated Screamer shouting out "Eep Op Ork Ah Ah (That Means I Love You)" to the adoring Judy without also hearing Adkins' own anthem to unbridled amore, "She Said." In "She Said," Adkins wails the lyrics "And she said, Heef, ha, oh, oh-oh" or syllables to that effect. So primitive and wild is Adkins' scat he makes the rest of the '50s rockabillies -- wild-eyed hillbillies and notorious hell-raisers one and all -- sound like a bunch of extra-timid choir boys. Though recorded 20 years before the Sex Pistols came along, "She Said" is lascivious, dangerous punk in the truest sense of the word, and Adkins is undeniably the spiritual padre of the movement. He's a hero to trash-rockers like Southern Culture On the Skids and especially the Cramps, who have recorded a number of Adkins' more monster-conscious tunes.

Adkins grew up in the same secluded and backwoods West Virginia mining community that birthed the celluloid roadside attraction Jesco the Dancing Cowboy. Since country deejays would say, "That song was by Hank Williams, not Hank Williams and his Drifting Cowboys," the young Adkins assumed that Williams played all the instruments on his records. This fundamental misunderstanding is how Adkins became a one-wild-man-band. Though getting on into his 60s, he continues to play it solo, banging on a tenuously tuned guitar, stomping a kick drum, and playing the high hat with more energy than most musicians a third his age could muster. His tunes range from lurking blues moaners to hellfire-raising rock that is positively Pentecostal, and Adkins' subject matter ranges from loving a girl so much it hurts to loving a girl so much you want to cut her head off and hang it on the wall. So whether you are interested in checking out a true rock pioneer or just want to see a little freakshow, Hasil Adkins can deliver. -- Chris Davis

Contrary to published reports, Snowglobe's show at the Lounge on Saturday, December 22nd, is not a CD release party. The band's debut album won't be available until mid-January, but that's no reason to wait on catching the city's most interesting young band, a Makeshift Records offshoot that boasts a gently psychedelic vibe and strongly rootsy and popwise songwriting bent. Also at the Lounge this week, two of the city's strongest voices team up when frequent back-up singing stars Jackie Johnson and Susan Marshall put their own considerable talents front and center. Johnson and Marshall will perform on Friday, December 21st.

-- Chris Herrington

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