Friday, August 04, 2006

The Pine Valley Cosmonauts - The Executioner's Last Song

I just heard a piece on NPR today about North Carolina's new Innocence Inquiry Commission which got me thinking about this CD. I actually got this several months ago during Bloodshot's spring cleaning sale, but it got lost in the mess of my car. Well I dug it out and gave it another listen.

Although billed as by the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, this is in reality a compilation album. The Cosmonauts serve as house band for the project, but every song is credited to a guest performer. The song selection is probably about the most morbid of any album I have (even more so than American V), but mostly in a humorous way, if you can be humorous about death, seeking, as the cover says, "consign songs of murder, mob-law & cruel, cruel punishment to the realm of myth, memory & history!!"

The proceeds to this album benefit the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project, which I don't think exists anymore. I think maybe it goes to the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty. It may have dropped out of the news, but the moratorium is still in effect, leaving the death penalty in Illinois in a strange limbo, as it still exists de jure and several people have been sentenced since the moratorium, but it cannot be carried out. The fate of the Moratorium probably rests in the hands of the voters in the upcoming gubernatorial election.

Anyways, this album is quite enjoyable considering the weighty topic. I know we've all laughed at the Louvins' "Knoxville Girl," which is the lead off track, here performed by Brett Sparks. And we laughed through most of this album, as maybe we should, at the sheer absurdity of it. Not that there aren't serious songs here, such as "Oh Death" by Diane Izzo or "Idiot Whistle," with Tony Fitzpatrick giving a very serious recitation about the politics behind the continuation of the death penalty.

The Pine Valley Cosmonauts w/ Frankie & Johnny Navin - 25 Minutes to Go

From Bloodshot
From Amazon

No comments: