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May 18, 2024

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The Bubbadinos
We're Really Making Music Now (Zerx Records)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

This oddly magnificent curio, while helpfully categorized on its back cover as "Honky Tonk Chamber Music," actually defies -- and quite possibly defiles -- such handy self-categorization. From no less than its very opening benediction ("Lone Prairie" --Residents-style, that is) through its continuous wilding loops from surprise (Ernest Tubb meets Leon Redbone) into sonic surprise (Johnny Paycheck by way of the circa 1972 Magic Band even!), these here Bubbadinos have concocted nothing short of a carnival-glass journey through the deepest, dankest reaches of the Far, FAR West, yet in doing so never ever fail to keep the ear both interested and fascinated -- despite all notions to the contrary, it sometimes seems.

Its twenty tracks sequentially sliced 'n' diced in all the right places by composer Mark Weber's delightfully whacked li'l Uneasy Listening interludes (with Mark Weaver's ubiquitous tuba employed more sparingly -- and thus effectively -- than a whole posse of Brave Combos), it's a danger at times to pass off these here entire proceedings as nothing more than mere Zappaesque gut-bucket novelty. But one listen to the oddly luscious "Pastoral In Open D" (which scouts uncharted territories even the "Aereo Plain"-era John Hartford passed by) and especially the truly magnum "Albuquerque Nocturne" (like some cruelly cast-off "Smile" experiment, it's no less than "Cabinessence" times Ten, I kid you not!), "We're Really Making Music Now" certainly demonstrates there's some, uh, serious music-making -- and genre-breaking -- going on within the Bubbadinos' ranks.

Hopefully, these merry mavericks are at this moment busy stirring up their next hour's worth of digital wonder. They should also "seriously" consider getting their marvelous work either out there on the road and/or up into the nearest Cronenberg film score as soon as is humanly possible. Okay, guys?

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