Hans Chew’s “Tennessee And Other Stories”

Our friends at Uncut sure know how to get a guy curious, what with describing the previously unknown (to us anyway) Hans Chew’s solo album Tennessee and Other Stories as something that could have been palmed off as a great lost album from 1970.  They larded it on a little thick, or so we thought, with comparisons to the Band and Nicky Hopkins.  But here’s the thing: they maybe understated.

Okay, not living in Brooklyn we’ve missed Hans’ shows with the late Jack Rose and with D. Charles Speer and the Helix.  Now that latter group may sound like the house band in Peenemunde, as V2 rockets magically arc and fall on London leaving gravity’s rainbow as a screaming comes across the sky. ‘Stead they’re a potent tea bag steeped in the primo brew of American moonshine, and one of their strengths is the way Chew radiates the 88, like Leon Russell in his heyday.

In fact, if there is a reference point that really nails what you’ll hear on Tennessee, it’s that original Leon Russell album, only instead of Clapton and Ringo sitting in, Chew’s sufficiently multidextrous as to be able to have recorded, from what we can tell, the whole thing mostly by himself.

A few weeks ago, we were stunned to hear Deer Tick’s amazing song “Mange,” which sounded like it had been marinating in a tin container since about the night of the Watergate break-in.  But Chew’s done something possibly more wondrous: he has rendered the sounds of Mad Delaney and the Dominos jamming with circa-Your Saving Grace Steve Miller and Little Feet as recognizable, and as classic, as all those old musicians Dylan tapped into on The Basement Tapes.  Professor Longhair jamming with the Stones as they record Beggars Banquet, breaking only for Nicky Hopkins to trade solos with Ry Cooder — you got it, and you better get it, Tennessee and Other Stories by Hans Chew.

One Response to “Hans Chew’s “Tennessee And Other Stories””

  1. […] we heard it, but then we just couldn’t quit playing it, until there reached a point that we realized Chew’s roadhouse piano and Three Calendar restaurant home cooking had the grit of substance […]

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