Tav Falco’s Panther Burns: Hip Flask & Reissues

The Panther back catalogue gets reignited.

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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 (810) 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 (810), 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 (810); 1990’s Memphis thunderbolt Return Of The Blue Panther bolstered by barnstorming 1989 Memphis set (710) and 1992’s also Chilton-helmed Life Sentence In The Cathouse (710) 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

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!