John Schooley & Walter Daniels and John Schooley

Dead Mall Blues, and The Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World (12XU)

Texas Platters

John Schooley & Walter Daniels

Dead Mall Blues (12XU Records)

John Schooley

The Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World (Voodoo Rhythm Records)
Texas Platters

Punk vets John Schooley and Walter Daniels certainly know the blues and wide-open countrysides. For Dead Mall Blues, the former One Man Band loses electricity and gains a cohort, the garage harp titan behind Jack O'Fire and Big Foot Chester. Daniels proves as adept at front porch harmonicatting as he is thick feedback and distortion. Equally, Schooley finesses acoustic six- and 12-string guitars and clawhammer banjo as deftly as a cranked-up doubleneck Danelectro, and the biggest bass drum you've seen. Via material ranging from improvised instrumentals like the title track to off-the-cuff deep cuts from Hank Williams ("My Sweet Love Ain't Around") and Blind Willie McTell ("We Got to Meet Death One Day"), Daniels and Schooley whip up a loose, rural delight no less intense for its lack of amplification. File Dead Mall Blues between John Fahey and the Holy Modal Rounders. Daniels also joins Schooley for his latest OMB LP. The amps and that huge bass drum come out of the van, noise and distortion back up. The Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World boasts far more doubleneck guitar, front and center on "Doubleneck Stomp" and "Doubleneck Drag." Some of Dead Mall Blues' acoustic elements sneak in too on "Clawhammer Banjo Medley" and acoustic strum "Poor Boy Got the K.C. Blues." The peak is pure bore John Schooley on "Boo Hoo," resembling Evan Johns firing his H-Bombs and going on a bender. Great days for the blues.

(Dead Mall Blues) ***.5

(Man Who Rode the Mule) ***

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