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Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang – Four Foot Shack

2014 ATO Records
Les Claypool's Duo de Twang - Four Foot Shack

A band like Primus ever attaining a string of gold and platinum releases is sadly a feat likely to never again be repeated. Let’s face it, no one wants to discount a long shot, but those are some pretty slim odds. From their rise to prominence to their present lessened (commercial) appeal; the band somehow thrived as an ugly duckling.

Duo de Twang is a direct extension—if not a down home celebration—of that legacy. An even odder progeny birthed by Primus frontman/bassist Les Claypool and M.I.R.V. guitarist Brian Kehoe.

Four Foot Shack” chiefly finds the duo paring down a series of Primus and Claypool staples to their quirky core. Largely acoustic with a bluegrass tilt, the two provide rubbery arrangements perfect for a bayou porch.

Nearly every rendition is a foot stomping romp through kooky Americana replete with slippery bass heroics, skittish chicken picking and the backwoods troubadour antics Claypool is revered (and reviled) for.

The Primus staple “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” in particular gets a rousing dose of buoyancy, with a feverish tempo and a wily bit of elastic playing laid down by both parties. It’s always easy to play the hits though.

The real surprise is the way some of the cuts from Claypool‘s solo bows fare in their reimagined form. Some will likely find that songs such as “Red State Girl“, “Rumble Of The Diesel” and Boonville Stomp” are even more bombastic and engaging here than in their original incarnations.

With Claypool at the helm humor is never far behind. In fact, the wry take on Alice In Chains‘ “Man In The Box” might well have been satire had it not been laced with such playful goofiness. You can also almost hear Claypool‘s crooked grin beaming through as he reanimates the Bee Gees‘ disco anthem “Stayin’ Alive” with cartoonish delight.

A loose funkified take on “Amos Moses” by Jerry Reed appears again (Primus covered it on “Rhinoplasty“.) But it’s reappearance feels like tribute, as a lot of Kehoe‘s work on this effort could have very well used Reed‘s playing as reference material. Likewise for the cover of the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, a man whose entire catalog might as well get a ghostwriting credit here while we’re at it.

As a complete package, “Four Foot Shack” offers a rollicking good time where the listener can have as much fun as the musicians playing it. A bit left of a field for a band that was already off-kilter, the same mantra still applies to Duo de Twang—it either sucks, or it sucks!

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Comments

  • southpawchew

    I need to go out and buy a copy of this everything I have hear of of this has been highly enjoyable

  • MyDarkPassenger

    Didn’t we used to have the tracklistings in reviews? That would have come in handy right about now.

    • SpinSwimScream

      You may comment at least 10x as often as other users, but you’re bound to say something worthwhile some time. This is easily the best thing you’ve said here in a while. I remember having track listings, and I have no idea why they’d not be included in reviews.

      • MyDarkPassenger

        Uh thanks for the comment? I’m actually not even here daily anymore as I have a new job that actually requires some attention, so time is at a premium. I still comment in bursts when I do come around, but hopefully it won’t be too much of a bother since everything I say is so retarded and worthless. You’d miss me if I wasn’t around.

      • PeAcE MiNuS 0Ne

        I like you MDP.

      • STH5563

        I think MDP is awesome as well. I like reading your comments. SSS is cool too though. SSS has defended me a few times on some topics.

  • JimCroceLoverXEX

    I consider Primus to be one of the most dedicated cult fanbases in music.

    • WURST

      Shinfo.

  • coolguy2424

    I must say that the cover of Stayin’ Alive is fantastic. Barry F’N Gibb would definitely approve.

  • ProtestedGyro

    Minecrafted and listened to this album at least 7 times. That Staying Alive cover cracks me up in the best way. That Wynona cover adds about 10x more groove to an already groovy song. The rest is great. Can’t wait to see Primus in May with Queens of the Stone Age.

  • dmoe

    I finally picked up a copy and have been listening to it all night. This album is nothing short of awesome from start to finish. I fucking lost it at their genius cover of “Man In The Box”.

  • jrr

    FYI, the Featured Reviews sidebar has this album listed as “Foot Foor Shack.”