Alt-blues afficianados need no introduction to the woozy and wayward charms of Johnny Dowd, returning to Berlin after a long absence for two dates at the King Kong Club this weekend with his band.
Dowd is something of a Johnny-come-lately, the old snake charmer not getting around to releasing his first record until his late forties. This Ithaca N.Y native, an unholy hybrid of David Lynch and Tom Waits, specialises in first person death row confessionals and southern gothic shaggy dog stories.
Aptly described by Uncut as “Bukowski backed by a jazz-country funk shuffle”, his latest platter (his 10th) is a spooked trawl through a 12 bar netherworld, taunted by the voices in his head, a rinky-dink organ and fuzzed out guitar providing accompaniment.
Despite the pervasive darkness, a punchline is never far away, a goat is drunkenly mistaken for a demon, the swamp woman, “knows the words to every Def Leppard song” whilst, on the carnivalesque sprawl of Fat Joey Brown, proceedings are funked up by a lolloping trombone.
As on previous outings, vocal duties are shared throughout by Kim Sherwood-Caso whose plaintive voice adds a little much needed sweetness.