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No-Neck Blues Band 

Nine for Victor (Victo)

Those who believe Slowhand is a blues masterpiece would dismiss Nine for Victor as awful noise -- an insufferable fusion of atonal jazz, power tools, and bad drugs. But the disc isn't really all that fucked up. To begin with, "Brain Soaked Hide" grooves like classic acid-rock -- stoned greasers nicking tricks from Yoko Ono's 1971 LP, Fly (which, believe it or not, Clapton plays on). On "The Cacao Grinder," those same stoners try their hand at synth-fried electro, transforming the once-hip dance music into total jam-rock (yes, it's true).

After that, the remaining seven jams do descend into free-form murk, albeit a murk with deep roots in mid-'70s fusion: Miles' Black Beauty, Peter Green's The End of the Game -- stuff like that. Of course, Nine for Victor doesn't sound exactly like those landmarks (it's been modernized), but NNCK does believe -- as did Miles and Green -- that far more can be done with the blues than merely imitating B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Unfortunately, that attitude was pushed so far underground by the end of the '70s that few folks these days remember that the blues was awful noise at one time.

Speaking of CD Review

More by Justin F. Farrar

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