While many of his post-punk contemporaries have died or disappeared, Tav Falco is one of the few from that era to have maintained a relentless level of creativity and quality. Since roaring out of late-70s Memphis with running buddies Alex Chilton and Jim Dickinson, he has ridden ever-changing Panther Burns lineups through 12 idiosyncratic albums of southern gothic hoodoo, primal rockabilly and hellbound blues plus several EPs but, in the process, his voluminous back catalogue has become a sprawling, rarity-studded beast.
Hopefully, 2015 will see that situation rectified with a new reissue programme on Falco’s reactivated Frenzi label, starting with compilation Hip Flask (8⁄10) straddling the 34 years between 1981’s chaotic “wreckabilly” debut Behind The Magnolia Curtain to tracks from his forthcoming latest album Command Performance.
It’s followed by double-CD releases of 1987’s Chilton-produced cyclone The World We Knew (8⁄10), mixing coruscating originals like She’s A Bad Motorcycle with astutely-judged covers such as RL Burnside’s Jumper On The Line, coupled with 1986’s Jim Dickinson-produced Shake Rag EP and bonus disc of rafter-rocking ’87 Bordeaux show (8⁄10); 1990’s Memphis thunderbolt Return Of The Blue Panther bolstered by barnstorming 1989 Memphis set (7⁄10) and 1992’s also Chilton-helmed Life Sentence In The Cathouse (7⁄10) joined by a rampant 1988 Vienna show.
Roped together, these fiery missives sound like compelling rebel-yell dispatches from another time, delivered by one of music’s most enigmatic wild cards./o:p