Exposé Online banner

Richard Leo Johnson and Gregg Bendian — Who Knew Charlie Shoe?
(Cuneiform Rune 258, 2007, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01

Who Knew Charlie Shoe? Cover art

Guitarist Richard Leo Johnson has again created a mythical context for the material on this latest disc, a story about a young boy who was transfixed by an old guitar-playing hobo at a church social picnic, and followed by pestering his folks until they bought him his own guitar, which he promptly teaches himself to play. RLJ plays the 20 pieces here on half a dozen vintage guitars in a fingerpicking and slide style that fully embraces down-home Americana, and a classic concertina. He is joined by percussionist “Junk Fish” aka Greg Bendian. Percussion in this case means washboard, spoons, blocks of wood and metal, pots and pans, plastic jugs, sheet metal, hub caps, and… well, just about anything within striking distance. The songs are brilliantly supported by sound effects, phone calls, bits of radio, barking dogs, and other field recordings that bring the story to life, but not in a way that forces the story – it just helps set the mood for what they are trying to accomplish, and doing it amazingly well. All taken, this is an outstanding release that hits the mark on many levels – as an explorative guitar album that offers a unique perspective (occasionally reminiscent of folks like Carl Weingarten, or early John Fahey), and also as a storybook development for Johnson’s concept. Superb on every level.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Gregg Bendian, Richard Leo Johnson

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/who-knew-charlie-shoe

Latest news

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ergo Sum - Mexico – Ergo Sum was an early French progressive band, a six-piece featuring flute and violin, as well as the standard guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, plus a vocalist (Lionel Ledissez) who sounds...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues