Johnny YesNo video cover, 1983. Design by Neville Brody.
Being a Cabaret Voltaire enthusiast of long standing it was good to hear last week about the imminent reappearance of Johnny YesNo, an hour-long film by Peter Care for which the Cabs provided the soundtrack. Mute Records will be releasing Care’s debut on DVD in a set which includes two versions of the film together with two music CDs. I never got to see the original release on CV’s VHS label, Doublevision; for most of the 1980s I didn’t even have a colour TV never mind a video recorder so I missed all CV’s videocassettes aside from Gasoline In Your Eye. The new edition will be available in November. Brainwashed has a list of the contents while The Quietus posted a clip from the new “redux” version. (And before anyone tells me it’s on YouTube…yeah, everything is on YT in shitty quality and barnacled with the misanthropy-inducing drivel which passes there for comment. If I’m going to watch something for the first time I’d prefer it to be on a shiny disc, thanks.)
• The world has noticed Terrence Malick again following the release of The Tree of Life. Malick’s second feature is returning briefly to UK cinema screens, an event which prompted David Thomson to ask Is Days of Heaven the most beautiful film ever made?
• This week in imaginative art: S. Elizabeth on The Fantastical Fairy Tale Art of Sveta Dorosheva, AS Byatt on the strange paintings of Richard Dadd (there’s another Dadd article here), and Rick Poynor on Chris Foss and the Technological Sublime.
• Ethan Hein demonstrates how Alan Lomax came to have copyright control over many songs he had nothing to do with simply by recording traditional music.
• Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation, a book by David Ensminger.
• More Club Silencio: Inside David Lynch’s Paris nightclub and a gallery of photos.
• Histoire un-Naturelle, selected works by Ruth Marten.
• Come hither: The deceptive beauty of orchids.
• Facsimile Dust Jackets.
• More Peter Care: Just Fascination (1983) by Cabaret Voltaire | Sensoria (1984) by Cabaret Voltaire | Rise (1986) by Public Image Ltd.
Ry Cooder rules. New album out today sees Ry accompanied by Mike & Pete Seeger, Roland White, Van Dyke Parks, Paddy Moloney, Flaco Jiménez, Stefon Harris, Joachim Cooder and Jon Hassell. Cover drawing and interior illustrations by Vincent Valdez.
On My Name Is Buddy, Ry Cooder revisits, in a new set of original material, the sound and feeling of the “dust bowl songs” he first explored more than three decades ago on such groundbreaking albums as his self-titled 1970 debut and 1971’s Into The Purple Valley. In fact, he’s joined by old friends like pianist Van Dyke Parks and drummer Jim Keltner who were with him at the start of his extraordinary, ultimately globe-spanning musical odyssey, which has yielded him six Grammy Awards to date, several more nominations, and perennial acclaim. My Name Is Buddy is also a journey, a phantasmagorical rendering in music, words and pictures of the travels of three unlikely cohorts—Buddy Red Cat, Lefty Mouse and Reverend Tom Toad—as they meander through the west “in the days of labor, big bosses, farm failures, strikes, company cops, sundown towns, hobos and trains…the America of yesteryear.” For this allegorical tale, Cooder marshals all his remarkable skills as a producer, arranger, songwriter, soundtrack composer and musicologist. (The Christian Science Monitor recently dubbed him “a modern-day Alan Lomax.”) My Name Is Buddy recalls Woody Guthrie’s Bound for Glory—that is, if it had been enacted by the articulate animal characters of Walt Kelly’s classic comic Pogo. Cooder conjures up the dark shadows of an earlier time to wryly comment on the political and social issues of the present. As back-story to his songs, Cooder has written short stories for each one and they’re accompanied by evocative illustrations from noted San Antonio-based painter and muralist Vincent Valdez, all of which are included in a specially designed package.