RICHARD LEO JOHNSON / GREGG BENDIAN
Who Knew Charlie Shoe?

[Cuneiform Records, www.cuneiformrecords.com]

"Near the town of Marked Tree, Arkansas, Charlie Shoe was born in a bean field on the 18th of May in 1955. This also happened to be his mom's birthday and his parents' anniversary. Charlie is an only child. He lives with his parents, and helps his dad run their small-engine repair shop and works on their family farm. Charlie has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism which, despite his high level of intelligence, limits Charlie's ability to live on his own, and participate in many typical adult activities", say the liner notes to "Who Knew Charlie Shoe?" Question must be asked, is Charlie a made up character [I'm placing my bets he is] or is he a real, flesh-and-blood person. But wait, it looks like guitar player Richard Leo Johnson is setting himself up to be Charlie Shoe, while percussionist Gregg Bendian is playing the role of Junk Fish. One couldn't tell this is their very first duo record, as both men interact in such a way that makes you believe they've played for decades. It's not much of a revelation to hear John Fahey's ghost all over this record. Johnson's playing is impeccable. In fact, his blues and grass-root folk is second to none. All the while, Bendian plays mostly found percussion, which includes lard can, blocks o'wood, chunks o'metal, washtub water [which gives some of the tunes a summer feel], attic stairs, springs, pots, pans, bowls, rakes, brooms & brushes, water jugs, plastic tubs, hubcaps, etc. In fact, just as long as it produces the "right" sound, there isn't an object that Bendian would be averse to playing. While some tunes are spooky and others sound rather experimental, it's the purely improvisational aspect of this music that makes it so special. The duo tells their story in the most simple and humane way possible. The narrative is straight-forward, while the music seeps out sideways. There is so much joy and so much authentic bliss, one can't simply walk away unaffected. Whether you know who Charlie Shoe is or not, share the duo's genuine ecstasy, for records as authentic as this one come around only once in a blue moon.

Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

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+ Smashits
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+ Move D - Tonspuren 1-10
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+ Xenia Beliayeva - Music
+ Mark Fry - Dreaming with Alice
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+ Moby Grape - Moby Grape
+ Oren Ambarchi - In the Pendulum's Embrace
+ Gavin Bryars/Philip Jeck/Alter Ego - The Sinking of the Titanic

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+ NEGATIVLAND - Our Favorite Things DVD/CD
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+ JAMES SAUNDERS - # [unassigned]
+ TEXTILE RANCH / CHARLES ATLAS - Textile Ranch / Charles Atlas
+ THE NOBORU JONES EXPERIENCE - The J.O.B.
+ ISAAC BABEL - The Sin of Jesus
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+ SMALL SAILS - Similar Anniversaries
+ MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / STEVE RODEN - Cosmic Debris - Split Art-LPs Series - Vol. II / MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / KEIJI HAINO - Cosmic Debris - Split Art-LPs Series - Vol. III
+ LUCA FORMENTINI - Tacet
+ TRIO M - Big Picture / MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS - Vision Towards Essence
+ ANNEA LOCKWOOD - Early Works 1967 - 82
+ MARC MANNING / YANN NOVAK - Pairings
+ CARIBOU - Andorra
+ RAPOON - Alien Glyph Morphology / RAPOON - Time Frost
+ THE JESUS LIZARD - Live DVD
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+ JOHN LUTHER ADAMS - Red Arc / Blue Veil
+ TOMAS KORBER / CHRISTIAN WEBER / KATSURA YAMAUCHI - Signal to Noise Vol. 2 / JASON KAHN / NORBERT MOSLANG / GUNTER MULLER - Signal to Noise Vol. 3
>> RICHARD LEO JOHNSON / GREGG BENDIAN - Who Knew Charlie Shoe?
+ LITTLE DRAGON - Little Dragon
+ AL MARGOLIS / IF, BWANA - An Innocent, Abroad / IF, BWANA - Radio Slaves
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+ GRAVENHURST - The Western Lands
+ MORGAN PACKARD - Airships Fill The Sky CD / DVD
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+ TBA - Size and Tears

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WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Dedicated to the dancefloor - wywiad z Gregorem Tresherem