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Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir | Fighting and Onions

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Dock Boggs Skip James Tom Waits

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Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir on Facebook Agnostic-Phibes Rhythm & Blood Conspiracy on CD Baby Shoutin' Abner Pim Recordings web site Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir on Youtube

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CANADA - other

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Blues: Acoustic Blues Rock: Americana Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Fighting and Onions

by Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir

The band's second CD has them mining the deep, dark territory of old, acoustic blues and early country music. Record mostly live, the Delta dirges and Appalachian rave-ups are raw, soulful, and skillfull examples of how banjo, slide guitar, and sheet met
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Stay Here for Awhile
0:38 $0.88
2. Buried Them In Water
2:19 $0.88
3. Special Rider
5:11 $0.88
4. Oh Sorrow
4:11 $0.88
5. Weasel
2:03 $0.88
6. Look Up Look Down That Lonesome Road
3:39 $0.88
7. North Country Grass
0:53 $0.88
8. Preaching Blues
2:55 $0.88
9. Vinegar & Piss
1:04 $0.88
10. Table o' the Lord
3:11 $0.88
11. Bouncin' Betty
0:43 $0.88
12. Come Along With Me
3:18 $0.88
13. Death Don't Have No Mercy
4:37 $0.88
14. Lighten Up, Would Ya?
0:40 $0.88
15. Lousy Drunk
4:20 $0.88
16. Things I Forgot
2:29 $0.88
17. Not Too Bad
5:25 $0.88
18. Stay Here for Awhile (reprise)
0:37 $0.88
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
There's a buzz on the Agnostics. Did they expect it? Hell, no. After all, the band was thrown together on a week's notice for their inaugural gig. St. Hubert, their 2003 debut recording, was self-financed, self-produced, and self-released. Yet it cracked numerous Canadian campus radio top 20 play lists, got them invited to roots music festivals, was spotlighted on several CBC radio shows, garnered them an appearance on Much Music despite that they didn't fit the demographic audience's tastes, was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award, and, in the end, gave them the incentive to record a follow-up, Fighting and Onions.

The Delta blues and mountain music still kicks something fierce, just like the people who invented them, but the styles get warped in a way that bucks at conservative traditionalism or quaint stereotypes. Slide guitar and banjo collide with a clanging drum kit and weighty stand-up bass. Devil's music? Sure…if the Agnostics believed in that mumbo-jumbo…maybe. It's two years since St. Hubert. They're two years better as a band.

Fighting and Onions was recorded in their rehearsal space during a harsh cold snap that ushered in 2005. Though there are a few more overdubs than their debut, the quartet recorded in the same room at the same time, like a good band should. At least half of the session's 18 songs are strictly live performances mixed through ambient room microphones. The brooding interpretation of Reverend Gary Davis' "Death Don't Have No Mercy" or the may-as-well-be-a-hardcore-band rendition of Son House's "Preaching Blues" display exactly what went down in the room. No embellishments. Understand? What you hear is the energy of a band playing, not a producer cutting and pasting. If musicians in the 1930s could pull off that kind of recording, then what is the excuse for many of today's musicians coddled by studio technology? Is Fighting and Onions pristine? No. Big deal. That isn't the point.

There's no doubting the intensity, emotion and, at times, weirdness on originals like "Oh Sorrow" and "Lousy Drunk". As much as the likes of Dock Boggs and Skip James are mentioned as ingredients in the AMGC sound, Judd Palmer's unusually tuned guitar and banjo, Jay Woolley's unorthodox drum kit outfitted with metal implements, Bob Keelaghan's two-in-one guitar parts, and Vlad Sobolewski's string slapping help garner frequent references to roots music mutants like Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart.

Therein lays the AMGC's appeal. As music critics note, the band's performances make people crane their necks at folk festivals and holler at the top of their lungs in crowded, rock bars. The AMGC often scratch their heads, stumble on a few phrases, then shrug their shoulders when asked how to describe their style. Let's just say it's part reverence for the source, part indifference for getting the notes perfect.

Are they really from Calgary? They don't sound like it. Whatever that means, you'll get the drift.

Outside the Agnostics, Palmer busies himself with the Old Trouts - his puppet troupe from the bizarro world - and writing children's books that piss off literary reviewers while getting nominated for Governor General's Awards. Around Calgary, it is regarded as a rite of passage for local indie-rock bands to have Woolley sit in on drums; he keeps time with pop-punkers Hot Awesome on the side. Keelaghan is a sought-after hired gun on the guitar, playing on recent discs by Falconhawk (those are his hands and licks in the video for "Olympia") and Vail Halen. Sobolewski's ambition is to play bass in as many groups as possible, including Edmonton theatrical band The Dead Rats and RV with Rodney Brent.



to write a review

reginald bones

Music with a heart
This is a big beating heart of a record, the sound of blues undergoing a Lazarus style resuscitation, plucked from the moribund clutches of the museum curators and fret noodlers that have ruined the greatest music form of the 20th century...phew heavy stuff...I'm starting to rant here...a damn fine record..if you like people like Seasick Steve and Jimbo Mathus you'll love this.


This CD sounds like blues in the 60th ... very good!
This CD sounds like blues in the 60th ... I think like Captain Beefhards "Safe At Milk". Very authentic. I prefer this more than rock'n'roll ... sometimes.

Pete Matthews

Classy follow up to debut album!!
St Hubert blew me away when I heard it a while back and this is a classy follow up to that album. The instrumentation is first class ,and the whole album has a real edge to it. I look forward to album number three.


I like it very much
Every once and awhile I'll get a CD that I play over, and over, and over again, and it's like one of those great books you hope will never end. This is just such a CD, and DAMN, it's SEXY.

Bobby Earl Davis (Earl Brothers)

This music is from the Dark Meat on the Hen ...
Fatback rhythm, with solid music on top.
I’ll be playing this Cd for sure when I’m on the road.
Buy this Cd if you want the Good Stuff