Son House has said that you can do anything with the blues, even so much as sing it in church. We probably wouldn't want to be singing Tyler Jakes' blues in church, however. His red right handed gospel is far too free at heart to be confined to such a place; in fact, it'd be an insult to the spirit of his music. "We gotta rise" he bellows repeatedly in the very first track of his album 'Rocking Hoarse Calypso'. It's his ode to life the only way he would think about living it and it's a beautiful thing to behold because listening, it's so hard to believe we'd accept anything less ourselves. Call it what you want; rock and roll, blues, gypsy folk punk, noise, revolution rock, transonic death. It just doesn't matter, it feels good though.
Tyler's got a full band this time around and you can feel it all beneath you so tape your glasses to the table. The full extension to Tyler's hand, his guitar takes center stage and I haven't heard as many glorious riffs and licks in a rock and roll album since Kurt was shredding…yes, every passing moment brings us further from that glorious time in history when rock and roll still reined supreme. Tyler's still got his verbal pistol cocked though, even more so than his first official effort 'lo-fi Matter'. Pieces such as 'Death Valley Surf Safari' and the red eyed madman blitzkrieg of 'Ballad in Plain F' inspire such a clear flow of revolt into your veins its hard not to start throwing things and craving destruction. Meanwhile tracks like the wanton and wicked '114th Street Devil Woman' and the indelible slide guitar action on 'Pretty Up Our Love' remind us why the blues were the centerpiece of America's music explosion for such a long time; songs about those temptations that maintain our imperfections and yet keep life well worth living. The trophy of this album I must confess my undying love for would be the reworking of a track I heard on his original country western-esque demo titled 'I Can't Take Anymore'. Unlike anything I've ever heard before, these are the real gypsy blues if I ever heard them. Belted with such unbridled masochistic passion for more of this torture, it all seems otherworldly to us only because more life is lived in each verse of this song than in the entire life of some:
"I got old, tired and cold dancing with a chimney sweep,
Waiting outside for his Ukraine bride, I was counting pharmaceutical sheep.
The devil gonna come with a pen for a thumb, a saw tooth grin and a bottle of rum,
Sayin' 'sign on the line, behind the door there's a drive through shrine,'
And I can't take anymore."
The album's a work of love and pain, but doesn't once curl up and submit to any beatings from anybody. This dog bites back. Tyler's perspective is a refreshing one and I would strongly recommend both of his albums to simply broaden your musical palette and extend your peripheral vision of the world around you, but most of all, keep his name in the back of your mind because nobody can ever tell when or where he will pop up and wreak havoc.