Exposé Online banner

Les Claypool — Of Whales and Woe
(Prawn Song PSR-0011-2, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

Of Whales and Woe Cover art

Bassist Les Claypool (Primus, Oysterhead, Sausage, et al) is a busy guy these days, with his first book and feature film making news, plus recent touring with Primus keeping him occupied. Then there’s this: the first album of original songs to be released under his name. Those familiar with past efforts will recognize Claypool’s characteristic fusion of funk, alt-rock, and cartoon themes spun out from elastic and virtuosic bass playing that serve as the canvas for his wry yet piercing narratives (involving lots of fishing escapades) usually delivered in a mock southern or exaggerated vocal style. Songs like “Lust Stings” would have fit in easily on Primus’ Pork Soda while the mock Funkadelic “One Better” reveals a hand at funk bass that makes the Chili Peppers’ Flea look like a rank amateur. The lineup on this album is sparse with Claypool himself covering drums and guitar plus guests Gabby La La and Mike Dillon providing occasional marimba and mallets, sitar, and theremin. But it’s the songs that make the album and tracks like “Vernon the Company Man,” “Phantom Patriot,” and “Iowan Gal” (“She’s got a round bottom and I like to spank it, She’s quilting me up a cashmere blanket”) are pretty hard to top. But beneath the humor is some real heart, as revealed in the bittersweet tale “Rumble of the Diesel.” As Claypool himself described this album, “It’s almost like Morphine meets old Isley Brothers with some bastardized version of Woodie Guthrie.” That works for me.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Les Claypool

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tony Scheuren - Gaining on You – Scheuren began his recording career back in the late 60s with the band Chamaeleon Church, and was later, along with Ted Myers, one of the principal songwriters in the final edition of Boston based...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues