Junior Kimbrough, Daft Punk and Yves Saint Laurent. No, I’m not advancing a new version of the holy trinity based on random name association, these three entititties* collide on one record in my collection. No, really, it does exist.
Junior Kimbrough & Daft Punk I Gotta Try You Girl.
Daft Punk soundtracked Yves Saint Laurent’s 2013 Paris Fashion Week show** with this monstrously 15-minute remix of a Kimbrough track taken from God Knows I Tried. The mightily wonderful Fat Possum Records released it as a RSD 2016 offering, limited to 2000 copies with an etching of everybody’s favourite deceased Mississippi hill country bluesman on the B-side. I had to buy one, it wasn’t optional.
A brilliant young rock writer once described Kimbrough’s music truly ‘as gritty as sin in the sand’, I simply don’t think any of us mere mortals could top that description. When I hear Junior Kimbrough play I can smell booze, smoke and stale sweat – the real deal, nothing sanitized for mass consumption. I have never heard another US bluesman play such an African-tinged version of the blues; music ancient as man. Kimbrough’s guitar drones, the rhythms pulse and weave around you and his voice sounds like a man facing the end who already knows he’s traded his immortal soul for tawdry pleasure a long long time ago.
So what has any of this to do with Daft Punk? well it seems that Thomas and Guy-Manuel are big fans. You can tell that by the way they have, rather modestly and respectfully, almost totally left themselves out of this edit – no showy beats and keyboard swooshes here, no lazy imposition of their brand on the music. If you didn’t know the original inside-out it would sound as though all they have done is to loop the track so that it doubled in length. There’s more subtle shit going down here than that though, a slight fattening up of the bass line, some extra beats cut in towards the end and a few bars from a couple of other Kimbrough tracks sneaked in here and there, don’t hold me to it at knifepoint but I am pretty sure I hear ‘All Night Long’ mixed in along with some live noise part way through.
I think this is a very clever, very respectful remix and not what I was expecting at all when I bought it. I find Junior Kimbrough’s take on the blues utterly hypnotic in any case, I Gotta Try You Girl taps into and amplifies this effect hugely.
Oh and there’s an etching, which means I can quite legitimately invite chicks up to see my etchings, because chicks can’t enough of them apparently. True story.
PS: God Knows I Tried, I love this cover pic/title combo so much!
*that’s a 1537 family in-joke right there. I once wrote ‘entititties’ rather than ‘entities’ in a report at work … showing far more of my psyche than I cared to.
**my credentials for starting a fashion blog, surely get stronger with every passing post I write?