Bloodkin : One Long Hustle
The sheer fact that there is 25 years worth of music to celebrate for a band like Bloodkin is a success in and of itself, so a retrospective like One Long Hustle is nothing short of remarkable.
One Long Hustle is a rear-view exploration of the highly prolific career of Daniel Hutchens and Eric Carter, spread across five discs of muddy demos, borrowed studio time, and rock-and-roll anthems. But what is remarkable through and through is the quality of the songwriting. Even in infancy, “Privilege,” “Can’t Get High” and “Quarter Tank of Gasoline,” all taken from four-track recordings in 1988, boast a compositional structure that remains largely untouched after all of these years. The One False Move Sessions disc boasts a classic five-song sequence beginning with “Who Do You Belong Too?” and followed by “Wet Trombone Blues,” “Success Yourself,” “Leave It Alone,” and “End of the Show,” with Hutchens and Carter backed by pianist John Hermann, bassist Dave Schools, drummer Todd Nance, and percussionist Domingo Ortiz of Widespread Panic. “Morning Chrome,” from the Chase Park Sessions disc, is pure Bloodkin rock.
The retrospective is organized by era and the location where the songs they were recorded, and while it isn’t exactly chronological, it makes sense when taking a collection this broad and created over this wild a time, and telling it as a story. And a story is really what this is. All previously unreleased, this is in no way a greatest hits collection. It is a rough, un-fettered telling of one of the darkest, saddest, rock-and-roll survival stories that anyone has ever written. It is about inception, birth, and countless explosions and rebirths. It is about musicians desperate for success, but ready and able to sabotage any opportunity that came their way. It is about the underdog who, even when on the biggest winning streak, is dealt a tragic hand.
If there is a message in these five discs, these 88 tracks, it is this: Don’t cry for Bloodkin. Don’t lament the well-deserved success that hasn’t come their way. Admire them for their tenacity, their love of music, and for the friendship of Daniel Hutchens and Eric Carter. One Long Hustle is an expansive collection of music that captures a career that Bloodkin didn’t choose, but that Hutchens and Carter were born into and survived, like Romulous and Remus. There have been many chapters in this unwieldy career, and one thing that the Bloodkin have done well is to close a door and open another. With One Long Hustle, the band does just this, signing off on the first 25 years and stepping into yet another era of Bloodkin.
One Long Hustle is out now on Terminus Records.