October 19, 2006

Dancing With Ghosts

"Zig-Zaggin' Through Ghostland" (Ed Volker)
The New Orleans Radiators, 1989

Here’s a tune I used to play up in Memphis on my annual New Orleans Halloween radio special along with a bunch of others I’d gather up from the spookier side of the city’s music. You know, songs with hoodoo and voodoo references, graveyards, ghosts and the like – not too serious, most of ‘em. Written by keyboardist and lead singer of the Radiators, Ed Volker, “Zig-Zaggin’ Through Ghostland” isn’t really about fear of the supernatural, the make-believe terrors of scary movies, or people in masks and skeleton outfits. Instead, he wrote this song after seeing a TV show about a soldier trying to stay alive fighting in Vietnam. A real horror story.

Ever since hearing “Zig-Zaggin’” when it first came out on
the out-of-print album of the same name, it’s stuck with me. I think it’s brilliant – certainly one of the best of many great songs, most written or co-written by Volker, the group has done in their nearly three decades together. Effective lyrics, funky groove, and a perfect arrangement by the band. Frank Bua’s drumming is outstanding here and the centerpiece of the production. For a rock band, they put out a distinct jazz vibe on this one. I could hear it worked up as an instrumental with a dominant organ and horns.

As we run up to Halloween this year, I’ll favor you with a few more selections from my trick bag, most all of them much more tongue-in-cheek, even devil-may-care. But for now, meditate on this danceable, haunting little number.

Notes: You might recall that I featured the Rads in
my mudbug special back in August. Looks like today’s song/album may be available for better quality download through mp3.com, or maybe try itunes. The band still tours extensively and tolerates taping. So, I know there are a lot of live shows to sample out there, too, if you’re interested. They’ve got a number of live CDs for sale, as well. And, speaking of live, HOTG music is best heard that way, if possible. So, I encourage you to catch these road warriors, if they ever play in your zone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice feature Dan and great funky groove indeed this phasing guitar is just perfect for setting this haunting number.

Thanks another discovery on my CD most wanted CD's

7:05 AM, October 23, 2006  

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