Hear The Track HereCheerful Charlie is not a title that sits well on Jon Bushaway's slumped shoulders, he isn't so much a half full/half empty glass kind of guy. He's much more likely to be asking why glass, and why is it staring? Mind you, that is an essential part of the man, and to understand why he does what he does musically, you have to take that into account. He's always had a massive dark streak and it has become part of his growing reputation over the years as a singularly distinctive composer and lyricist (nay, poet even). The Dead Company has always rested on his musical and lyrical talent, aided and abetted by various vocalists, including Larry Ludwick who has done an excellent job just lately and nowhere more so than on The Dreams Of Jenny.
Lyrically, the track is pure magic. Jenny 'has strange arms and has strange legs, and not allowed cheese or milk or eggs' and obviously appears to have some terrible affliction which precludes her living a normal life like the girls she sees out of her window. Not calmed by her parents in any form, she finally escapes to a fantasy world where she lives inside the pages of a magazine - or at least that's my take on it. Like all Dead Company tracks, The Dreams Of Jenny never uses one note where twenty million would do, hence the almost FIFTEEN minutes of running time. I wouldn't accept such aural abuse from just about anybody and it's a sure sign of the respect I have for Jon Bushaway as a musician (and king mood maker) that I sat through it - and not just the once either.
I particularly like The Dead Company in pretty mode, followed closely by the brain mashing, rhythmic pile driver approach and The Dreams Of Jenny features both, although more of the pretty and less of the bish bash bosh. Musically, the first half of the track is wonderful. An intro you slide into like a warm bath, leads you into the shady grove where Larry Ludwick (another shady cove) declaims the story I describe above, although in a lot more detail. I must say, Larry has a terrific voice for this kind of work, but the taut, almost falling apart musical backing creates a wonderful bed for him to work from. When Jon does pretty, it brings tears to your eyes I tell you. He finally lets loose around eleven minutes in and the last minute is an absolute classic nail-your-head-to-the-wall riff fest that could be a track all of its own.
Masterful. Different and very, very strange. Highly Recommended blend of music and poetry.