Reviews and suchlike

"Praise from people I respect can get me through times of no money better than money can get me through times of no praise." - Harvey Pekar

"Schooley is definitely hardcore." - Spike Penetrator

The reviews are pouring in for my new Voodoo Rhythm LP The Man Who Rode The Mule Around The World, and for my new album with Walter Daniels on 12XU Records, Dead Mall Blues. Here are some recent examples:

- Byron Coley had this to say on Twitter. (There was hype?? But, thanks!)

"It filled my heart with joy to see a new John Schooley album — on Voodoo Rhythm Records, no less. It’s his first since 2007’s One Man Against the World. Hailing from Austin, Schooley is a venerated pioneer of the punk-blues one-man-band movement. On this album, he plays nearly everything: guitars — electric and otherwise — banjo, and drums, though Austin harmonica player Walter Daniels joins him on several cuts. (Daniels and Schooley have another new album together, Dead Mall Blues, which I just learned about.) Some cuts sound like crazed blues, while others, like “Cluck Old Hen,” might be bluegrass from the Red Planet. Then there is “Poor Boy Got the K.C. Blues,” in which Schooley sounds like he’s been listening to John Fahey (though Fahey never used drums miked nearly that high). The title song comes from a great American troubadour and legendary drunkard, Charlie Poole. It’s a surreal little hillbilly classic with lyrics like “Oh, she’s my daisy, she’s black-eyed and she’s crazy/The prettiest girl I thought I ever saw/Now her breath smells sweet, but I’d rather smell her feet/She’s my freckle-faced, consumptive Sara Jane.” Schooley and Daniels soup it up into an eardrum blaster, jamming like madmen until the last minute or so. It’s sheer feedback squall. Charlie Poole meets Metal Machine Music. I love it!" - Steve Terrell, The Santa Fe New Mexican 

"Austin-based bluesman and rocker John Schooley has composed and recorded a fresh 12-song album of one-man band brilliance and lunacy on Voodoo Rhythm Records. The Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World is Schooley's first full-length release since 2007's One Man Against the World. ...The title track, which starts out rootsy and subdued, with a thin background of well-placed feedback... then picks up into a blues punk frenzy before unraveling by stages into a wash of artistically arranged noise." - No Depression

"File Dead Mall Blues between John Fahey and the Holy Modal Rounders." - The Austin Chronicle

In Swedish: "Hon har dock i sin tur garanterat återvunnit det från andra så här kan vi konstatera att återvinning fungerar alldeles utmärkt om man gör det med stil." - Nya Uplaggan

In German: "Die ganze Platte kann man ganz wunderbar in einem Rutsch durchhören (was hier mehrfach passiert ist), würde ich jedoch nach meinem favorisierten Song gefragt, würde ich wohl so bescheiden gucken wie der Esel auf Weltreise. Was es mit dem eigentlich auf sich hat und wer der Mann ist, der ihn geritten hat – bleibt das Geheimnis von John Schooley."- Renfield-Fanzine

In Dutch: "Zo hopt hij zonder moeite van rockabilly en country naar gore blues en ongezouten punk. Schooley weet een liedje dat met een beetje goede wil als een countryliedje de boeken in lijkt te gaan, te laten ontaarden in een noise-eruptie van menig shoegazeband met Sonic Youth obsessie de hoed voor af dient te nemen. En passant covert hij een van mijn favoriete rockabilly liedjes: Boo Hoo van Marvin Rainwater. John Schooley weet dit alles te vangen op een bijzonder plezierige plaat van ruim 30 minuten. Een zeer aangename verrassing!" - Planet Trash

Below are some reviews of previous John Schooley albums, in various languages:

Razorcake Turn it up. TURN IT FUCKING UP. Turn it up. TURN IT FUCKING UP I SAY!!! TURN IT FUCKING UP!!! TURN IT FUCKING UP!!! The first song kind of reminded me of the music to “Beginning of the End” off of the second Eddie & The Hot Rods album. I guess the last one did, too. Did i mention to turn it up? Do so. Seriously. Seriously. Up. Seriously up. No shit. BEST SONG: “One Man Against the World, Part II” BEST SONG TITLE: “Screwdriver,” ‘cause i'm AN-TI-SO-CIAL! Uh, never mind. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Worth purchasing for the liner notes alone, although you can't really turn those up. –Rev. Norb

I-94 Bar (Australia) With an album title like that is John Schooley looking for a therapist or reassurance? Well, here goes. There are times on this album when Schooley sounds like he should rule the world. Now harden the fuck up, son, and keep making music this good. Minimalist rockabilly? Fucked up country blues? Sitting pretty in the garage rock expanse between country, rockabilly and lo-fi blues-skronk, Schooley continues a tradition of compelling and spirited music.

Call it anything you like. Schooley first came to my notice on a Hard Feelings album that The Onyas' Rich Stanley put out in Australia on his Dropkick label half a decade or more ago, and the Texan-by-transplant hasn't put a foot wrong since. While The Hard Feelings were brash, in your face and impossible to ignore, the John Schooley of these days is busy exploring his roots. Which isn't to say this is serious, navel-gazing stuff or overly respectful, it's just that he's taking time to find out who brewed his moonshine.

From the moody, sample-ridden (yes, that read correctly - but relax, it's mostly word salads buried in wheezy harp) opener and title track to the warped reprise of the same song that closes it, this is one stunning trip. Schooley plays the blues/garage/whatever like no-one else. With economy, feeling and scant regard for critical acceptance (though I'm guessing it might be nice to pay the bills.) Just don't expect anything resembling mainstream radio to touch it. Fuckers.

Can you call garage blues a "mash up"? Buggered if I know but there's variety of styles to choose from on this album, whose only common thread is Schooley's rustic ethos. "Cantrell Creek Breakdown" is hillbilly-infested instrumental, "Every Day Can Get You Down" an Oblivians-styled stomp and "The Crooked Path" a cooking blues lament/murder song driven by a husky harmonica and boot-full of Delta dirt. And that's all in the space of three songs.

Lee Hazelwood gets more than a nod in "My Baby Cried All Night Long" (more like a fixated and lengthy gaze.) "I Don't Like The Blues No How" (Carolina Tar Heels), "Wildcat Tamer" (Dale Hawkins) and "Somebody In My Home" (Howlin' Wolf) are all moderately to wildly obscure covers, but perhaps the best appropriation is from someone called Billy Bizor with a live-in-the-radio-studio "Screwdriver" (DJ Kev Lobotomi gets a namecheck in the liners.) Excuse the beatbox here and the vocals could be up in the mix but but the delivery is a killer, with slide so sharp you could slice stale tomatoes with it.

A one man band record with a reason for living. Down, dirty and delectable. – The Barman

Austin Chronicle John Schooley's a travelin' man. On the cover of his second LP for Swiss garage label Voodoo Rhythm, we find the local one-man band wielding a machete, guitar safely at his shoulder, collaged next to the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids. No, Schooley hasn't gone world music; we still get his bluesy stomp and slide, at a marathon 14 songs. With a guitar, harmonica, and kick drum, he unfolds tales of his beloved South via a few choice covers (namely a cello-laden stroll through the late Lee Hazlewood's "My Baby Cried All Night Long"), a killer instrumental (the rockabilly romp "Hudcore"), and even a little electro-dalliance ("One Man Against the World Part II"). And at the end of the World , Schooley's true to his roots, whether blasting through the Oblivians thump of "Every Day Can Get You Down" or the holler of "The Crooked Path." Roll on. - Audra Schroder

Ox Fanzine (Germany) Inzwischen hat sich John Schooley in seiner Rolle als Alleinunterhalter wirklich gut eingelebt. Wir vergessen zwar nicht ganz die Zeiten der REVELATORS and HARD FEELINGS, doch das war gestern und die ONE MAN BAND ist heute. Immerhin ja auch schon mit dem zweiten Longplayer für Voodoo Rhythm. Und da denke ich so beim Hören, Mensch, das hat doch verdammt viel von R.L. Burnside, den du ja auch schon seit Jahren schätzt. Tja, wieder wurde ich von mir selbst als absoluter Experte enttarnt, denn im Info lese ich jetzt, dass der gute John bereits seine Sporen als Tourmusiker von eben jenem R.L. Burnside verdient hat. Und wer jetzt ein Fünkchen Ahnung von Blues hat, wird auch wissen, was ihn auf "One Man Against The World" zu erwarten hat. Direkter, furztrockener Stampf-Sound mit viel Melancholie, Energie und Verspieltheit. Dazu schafft es Schooley stets hervorragend, sich nicht im Kreise zu drehen und selbst zu wiederholen - was bei einem Mann alleine mit Trommel und Gitarre mal gar nicht so einfach ist. Stattdessen bedient er sich bei anderen Stilrichtungen wie Folk, Rockabilly, Punk und R&B, dass es nur so eine Freude ist. Raus aus Texas, rauf auf die Bühnen der Welt. Denn da gehört ein Irrwisch wie John Schooley nun einmal hin. Wie zich wel eens aan een stevige cocktail van blues en rock-'n-roll wil wagen en zijn drankje bovendien met een hoop show geserveerd wil krijgen, moet het eenmansspektakel van John Schooley And His One Man Band misschien eens een kans geven. Met One Man Against The World is de eenzaat immers al aan zijn tweede plaat toe en zijn muziek is er niet bepaald eentoniger op geworden.

Hoe beoordeelt men een klassieke garagepunker wiens plaat met een openingsriff van Oasis begint? Moet hij een flinke draai om zijn oren krijgen of moet hij juist aangemoedigd worden in zijn poging om met de ongeschreven wetten van de muziek te breken? Wij hebben er een nachtje over moeten slapen, maar hebben uiteindelijk toch voor het laatste gekozen. One Man Against The World biedt naast een portie klassieke garagerock immers net zo goed een paar leuke verrassingen.

De opener “One Man Against The World (Part I)” en gelijknamige afsluiter “One Man Against The World (Part II)” kan men om te beginnen al moeilijk klassiek noemen. De nummers hebben naast het herkenbare riffje van “Rock ‘n Roll Star” immers nog een paar extra rariteiten in huis. Beide nummers blijken bijvoorbeeld uit parlando's opgebouwd en dat terwijl het bluesgehalte van het materiaal er toch nooit onder te lijden heeft.

Het aanstekelijke “Somebody In My Home” is op zijn beurt een cover van Howlin' Wolf, maar weet met het krachtige slagwerk en de steeds dominante mondharmonica net zo goed een meerwaarde te bieden. Helemaal interessant wordt het echter pas in “The Crooked Path”, waarin Schooley tegelijkertijd een viool en een mondharmonica hanteert. Tot zulke stunts komt het niet vaak, maar met geloofwaardige nummers over de horror van het alledaagse bestaan als “Every Day Can Get You Down” -- waarin hij af en toe een oerschreeuw laat horen -- hoeft dat gelukkig geen probleem te zijn.

Toch heeft Schooley eveneens zijn minder goede momenten. Wat moeten wij bijvoorbeeld met het halfslachtige “Cantrell Creek Breakdown”? Het nummer heeft een vrij saaie melodie en er zit bovendien geen zang in. Dan liever een nummer als “Screwdriver”, waarin er eveneens niet veel zang zit, maar waarin het ritme wel in vijf minuten tot een waanzinnig tempo wordt opgedreven.

Dat Schooleys' minder interessante nummers niet direct achter elkaar staan en met een hoop beter te pruimen nummers afgewisseld worden, maakt echter veel goed. Het zorgt er toch in ieder geval voor dat One Man Against The World een redelijk fijn in het gehoor liggende plaat blijft. Een dergelijk vonnis klinkt uiteraard niet als een grote goednieuwsshow, maar een tegenvaller is One Man Against The World evenmin. De plaat bevat veel interessante ideeën en dat is al reden genoeg om Schooley live of op plaat een kans te geven. Uit de lelijkste rupsen worden er immers vaak de mooiste vlinders geboren.

Sante Fe New Mexican Those who attended this year's Thirsty Ear Festival were treated to the crash 'n' bash one-man blues of Memphis street musician Richard Johnston. Well, here's a Texas version of Johnston, an even crazier one-man blues machine named John Schooley. Like Johnston, Schooley plays guitar (lotsa slide!), drums, and sometimes harmonica simultaneously. He sometimes drifts into country music, knowing full well the cultural and cosmic connections between country and the blues, creating a raw but joyful noise way beyond what you'd think a lone humanoid could produce. Schooley covers R.L. Burnside, Howlin' Wolf, the late Lee Hazlewood (“If you don't like Lee Hazlewood, I don't like you,” Schooley says in the liner notes), and the rockabilly classic “Wildcat Tamer.” And he's even got an original murder ballad, “The Crooked Path,” based on a true story about the killing of four people in a house in Missouri in 1951, in which the killer confesses, “They were good neighbors, but they didn't like me.” - Steve Terrell

Shoot Me Again Avec son album éponyme, John Schooley and his One Man Band avait fait l'effet d'une bombe dans le catalogue de Voodoo Rhythm Records. Son retour dans les bacs figure donc parmi les bonnes nouvelles de l'année.

Pourtant à la première écoute de ce One Man Against The World , on est quelque peu dubitatif. L'ancien guitariste accompagnateur de RL BURNSIDE en tournée s'est fait beaucoup plus bricoleur dans ses compositions et on pense à BECK et son premier album sous le bras. Les instrumentations rendent moins sauvage le John Schooley and his One Man Band que l'on a connu. L'utilisation de différents instruments et de samples minimisent le AND HIS ONE MAN BAND . La prouesse solitaire est dès lors mise à mal.

Mais cela vaut la peine de dépasser cet étonnement ! One Man Against The World se révèle à la répétition des écoutes plus intéressant et plus remuant que de prime à bord. C'est d'ailleurs cette richesse des compositions qui va sauver l'album.

On finit par mieux comprendre la démarche du Monsieur qui a choisi de ne pas s'enfermer dans un son trop unique et basique. John Schooley and his One Man Band ouvre son blues aux autres aspects du rock'n'roll. Une touche seventies et de rockabilly par ci. Une version plus moderne et actuelle par là.

John Schooley and his One Man Band a préféré recycler son blues trash puissant plutôt que de se répéter et de s'enfermer dans un schéma restrictif. Le risque de provoquer la lassitude était trop important.

One Man Against The World est donc un album riche à l'intérieur même de chaque composition mais aussi dans son ensemble. Tantôt plus contenu, tantôt plus posé, John Schooley and his One Man Band n'a pas complètement délaissé son côté trash et sauvage surpuissant. Ainsi, le temps de Screwdriver (un ancien titre justement) on replonge dans le style épuré et direct qu'on avait connu avec l'album éponyme.

One Man Against The World figure parmi les albums qui doivent se découvrir. Un album qui doit se décortiquer, même si cela peut sembler paradoxale quand on parle de Blues Trash et de ONE MAN BAND .

One Man Against The World est un album complexe qui n'a pas pour autant perdu complètement de sa spontanéité et où l'énergie brute y est toujours le moteur. - fred

Fileunder (NL) Het is niet gemakkelijk om in je eentje een band te vormen. En dan bedoel ik niet gewoon een man met zijn (akoestische) gitaar, maar een echte band. Met drums, zang, gitaar en de hele rataplan. Ik zie ze ook steeds minder, zo'n man alleen die bepakt en bezakt met instrumenten rondtrekt. Da's best jammer, want meestal zijn het zeer vermakelijke acts. John Schooley is er dus nog wel eentje en een van uitstekende kwaliteit ook nog eens. Vroeger speelde hij in een band, The Revelators, maar nu heeft hij zijn handen en voeten vol met instrumenten om in zijn uppie vuige bluestrash te spelen. Op One Man Against The World speelt hij naast nummers van zichzelf ook nummers van anderen. Zo doet hij "Somebody In My Home" van Howlin' Wolf, maar dan voorzien van een Captain Beefheart-arrangement. Bescheiden als hij is, zegt Schooley in het begeleidende schrijven dat hij niet kan zingen als Wolf en Beefheart en dat ook niet geprobeerd heeft. Hij moet het doen met wat hij heeft. Mij hoor je overigens daarover niet klagen, want hij lijkt wel een beetje op Masters of Reality's Chris Gross en daar houd ik wel van. Het enige wat ik wat minder vind aan One Man Against The World is de wat monotone drumpartijen. Maar als ik Schooley al spelend tegen zou komen in een stad, dan zou ik absoluut even blijven staan om te luisteren en ik zal zeker ook een euro in zijn gitaarkoffer doen.

Rock Around the Blog It´s the return of John Schooley, by the extraordinary Voodoo Rhythm, an "One Man Band" that does a journey "Against The World", not doing it however alone, therefore does be accompanied for a spiritual, traditional and rustic "lo-fi rockabilly-blues", that transports the dirtiness of the "delta" up to our times, with excellent covers of Dale Hawkins, Howlin' Wolf, Lee Hazlewood and Carolina Tar Heels, this record is essential.

Here's an Austin Chronicle story about one man bands about town - Possessed by Paul James, Scott Biram, and Schooley. Check it out here.

Reviews of the first Voodoo Rhythm album below...

Blues Matters (UK) John Schooley shows whatever the White Stripes can do with two people, he is well capable of matching on his own (he plays guitar, harmonica, kick, snare, hi-hat, cymbols, washboard, shakers, tambourine and screams his head off all live and at the same time), as he bangs his way throughchaotic and fractious tracks. I don’t think the Blues can get anymore stripped back, this is as bear arsed naked the genre is
going to get and it’s a fairly matchless listening experience - equally scary as it is riveting. I must admit to an addiction to sixth track ‘Drive You Faster’ who’s insistent beat has given me whiplash! Trip to therapy and the GP for me; all the best trips have that element of danger though don’t they? - Darren Howells

Horizontal Action (#15) I’ve started tonight with John Schooley and his One Man Band on the excellent Voodoo Rhythm label and I must say it’s a very fitting start.  Falls more to the Chicago Maxwell street electric blues side (think Hound Dog Taylor).  And dirty EVERYTHING!!!!  From gitz to shakez to washboards & wicked ass harps.  Four and a half originals and seven choice covers all aptly done.  Excellent liners by Ned Ludd.  I’ve been to every blues fest for about…shit…I don’t even know.  But I love to walk past it, head west back in time and find mista Schooley beating his instruments to shit on the corner of Halstead and Maxwell.  All OMB/electric blues fans take note; this is a cut above most.  I say 5.5 broke ass guitars (out of five).

Maximum Rock and Roll (#265) I’m a fan of the one man (uh, person?) band in both concept and (generally) practice.  John (HARD FEELINGS, etc.) Schooley’s version of this venerable concept is high in musicianship (no rhythm spazz outs, though I love it when this happens with overextended single players) yet still satisfying on a gut level.  The production, while gritty as expected on a Voodoo Rhythm release (also available on LP, folks), at times manages to make it sound like a hell of a lot more than one person can play, but the liners assure that it is, indeed, all John playing live.  I guess he dropped the needle on A.W. Nix’s “Black Diamond Express” just before he started accompanying it for the first and last cuts.  Still, he’s got Nix and his congregation added on those two, but I’m not one to be a purist in the face of something that works.

Razorcake Perfect flawless synthesis of the gleeful lawlessness of Hazil Adkins, the frantic stomp of Doo Rag/Bob Log III and the gut-wrenching power of the Immortal Lee County Killers. Highest recommendation. - Cuss Baxter

Austin Chronicle Can you hear that steam whistle blow? It's John Schooley, man and band. This is a travelin' album – by rail, by wheel, by wood, and coal. No jet engines here, only industrial sweat and steel. Southern blues stripped to the bare essentials, John Schooley & His One Man Band multitasks like a train-jumper circa 1938 (read Ned Ludd's liner notes). Playing all the instruments on the album save cello and mandolin, Schooley grinds it out just the same live: guitar across his lap, foot on the kick drum, harp round his neck. He begs for a moonshine-serving sweatbox. Opening and closing with the Rev. A.W. Nix's preachings underneath a slow-churning "Black Diamond Express Train to Hell" parts one and two, Schooley rolls through traditional blues ("Factory Dog"), Appalachian bluegrass ("Cat Squirrel"), rockabilly ("Drive You Faster"), and contemporary, blues-tinged rock & roll ("She Ain't Comin' Home"). That harp turns white collars blue. Interspersing originals with covers of Jimmy Reed's "Honest I Do" and Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" (a perfect match) among others, Schooley is a vision of the past sneaking up on the future. Nothing to do but hold on tight and ride those rails.

Shoot Me Again (France) WAOUW !!! John Schooley est tout seul et il balance son blues rock'n'roll sauvagement comme si il était accompagné d'un orchestre ! "Chicago Breakdown", la plage d'ouverture (après l'intro) donne le ton ! Percutant ! Harmonica, guitares bluesy et batterie (spéciale pour jouer avec les pieds) à 100km/h. L'homme orchestre vient du Texas, il aurait pu nous balancer de la country redneck pro-bush, au lieu de ça il balance une sauvagerie blues et rock'n'roll, tendance bord du Mississipi, rappelant ainsi les origines : une évolution de la musiquedes esclaves noirs. Personnellement je suis bien content que ce blanc bec de John Schooley choisisse la voie déjà empruntée par un Bob Log III plutôt que celle des gros attardés en salopette ! Et c'est d'autant plus jouissif qu'il le fait super bien ! Ca balance grave (le côté rock'n'roll) et c'est super chaud (le côté blues) et c'est direct (sans doute du au fait d'être un homme orchestre). Même avec des titres comme "She ain't comin' home" ou "Honest I do", plus calmes et posés, John Scholley parvient à imposer son énergie. Franchement, rien à jeter sur ce disque. Je le range d'emblée à côté du nouveau experimental tropic blues band, dans le rayon "hautement rock'n'roll... DANGER".

Lowcut (Denmark) This Austin citizen has made some huge marks in modern (underground) rock'n'roll history while paying his dues in cult bands like The Revelators and The Hard Feelings, and now Mr. Schooley has gone solo with his own one man band. And compared to the one man bands of the world I'd rate him among the very best. Armed with only a kicksnare, slideguitar, harmonica and a gutwrenchin' howl this motherfucker cooks up some of most infectious delta blues trash mayhem I've heard in a while. Its more tuneful than Bog Log III and Lightning Beat-man (Voodoo Rhythm's head honcho), not unlike BBQ, and while it gets frantic, distorted and over-the-top at times, many of the tunes evoke classic blues artists of the past like Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor and Son House. This is truly the devil's music in a southern fire'n'brimstone we-are-all-going-to-hell preaching sorta way, and this honky got the blues bad, baby! Great covers of Howlin' Wolf, Rufus Thomas and Jimmy Reed. Definitely my pick of this issue. Viva Voodoo Rhythm!!!

Sleazegrinder More marvelous maverick mayhem straight from the Voodoo Rhythm hotplate from one-time Revelator Mr. Schooley, yup playing everything his goddammned self, yet making more noise than a whole herd of avalanches (such things do exist, please believe me and read the fuck on). Huge, gargantuan distorted slabs of destruction rain down on and all around you like the end of days in Revelations, dissolving right before your very eyes. Beware of what you pray for - it might just burn your ass, the cheeky little fucker. A mixture of self-composed and old classic songs that are dragged kicking and screaming into the order of things whether they like it or not this is a ferocious, frenzied assault on your senses. Like a Pit Bull let loose n leaping at you...only if that were fun. Some would say totally over the top (yeah, they fucking would, wouldn't they?) and it may well be, but that's a good state of being I'll toast to that and drop my hat. 'Black Diamond Express Train To Hell' gets things moving with a lugubrious country blues over a preacher type sermon, an eerie melody like The Stones 'No Expectations', that could be heralding the rise of some seven-stomached space creature from a sizzling swamp in an old B-movie. And it's hungry too. Now you're lured in there ain't no messing about. Like a seven-headed fox let loose in the chicken coop. Instant cream curdling, an almost literal evil primordial stew, like gnawing on a rock of parmesan and enjoying it every time you chip a tooth...Fat, squelchy guitar parts that ooze steam from the depths of the earth 'pon which this venemous, volcanic eruption sits, hurling colossal Krakatoan larva explosions and pelting us with pumice in the form of scabrous slide and hellhound harp. Sizzling rump steak size songs like 'Chicago Breakdown' and 'Factory Dog' are marinated in dirt, but end up dripping pure 100% beef anyway before taking a walk in the park and chewing your neighbour's legs. Like a scientists experiment in some old sci-fi B-movie this keeps boiling, boiling, boiling till bllliirgnnnnggg everything explodes and as the ash descends we're escorted outta there on the 'Black Diamond Express Train To Hell Part two'. Hardly believable that it's all the work of one crazy bad ass Texan but sho' nuff n' yeah it is you're taken on one mean carousel ride, the tension getting higher n' higher so that by side two (Voodoo Rhythm splendidly split their records into two sides like a vinyl) the covers of R'n'B classics 'Honest I Do', 'Tiger Man' and 'Killin' Floor' are as down and dirty, salty and sweaty as you're gonna ever get yet still retain the spirits of their original incarnations. And that's a testament to this guy. This ain't no novelty one man band thing either like Bob Log this is show stopping stunning soul spinning atomic blues showers for our last summers and a true maverick, idiosyncratic talent. A pure bred hellfire breathing legendary shack shaker, if ever there was one!

Fader From the March issue: Around here we always say there aren't enough one-man bands. Nothing better than a guy hooked up to an oddly rigged, foot controlled drum kit bashing out some noisy rock & roll and dirty blues on a resonator guitar. Schooley's leading the garage/punk-blues assault in Austin with his band the Hard Feelings, but apparently he's been on the "one man" trip since he was a kid. Can't argue with history.

Triggerfish Der nackte Knochen des R´n`R John Schooley ist kein Unbekannter. Seine One Man Show zieht er schon Jahre durch,als er durch einen Zufall die Revelators gründen kann. Eine klasse Krawall Band (legendäres Album: „We told you not to cross“) die durch Einflüsse (nicht nur musikalische) der Oblivians vor ein paar Jahren in kürzester Zeit nach oben gespült wurde und auf Crypt veröffentlichen konnte. Minimale Besetzung auch da. Nach den kurzlebigen Revelators traf Schooley in Texas auf andere Weggefährten und gründete die Hard Feelings, die ähnlich rustikal zu Werke gingen und auch in Deutschland und dem Rest der Welt ausgiebig tourten. Nun, das ist Geschichte und ist Schooley wieder alleine unterwegs und schrammelt seine Version des Lone Star Blues Trash auf der ordentlich verzerrten Gitarre und begleitet sich selbst mit Bassdrum, Hi Hat, Harp und natürlich seinem Gesang. Das er damit zwangsläufig irgendwo zwischen Bob Log 3 und The Haze (Adkins) landen muss, ist klar - One Man Bands eben. Schooley ist aber letztendlich in seiner Form von Blues Trash geradliniger und wenn auch derbe verzerrt, insgesamt weniger kaputt. OK ich bekenne, man redet hier über Nuancen, aber dieser CD hört man nicht als erstes an, dass es sich „nur“ um einen Verrückten handelt und außerdem scheint diese Platte mehr Prärie und Grass geatmet zu haben, als erstgenannte Großstadtfreaks und Hinterwäldler auf Ihren Veröffentlichungen. Ich hoffe, ich habe mich klar und deutlich ausgedrückt!! Schooley ist übrigens gerade auf Tour und sollte Euer Gehör finden, denn er ist ein Guter und verbreitet sicherlich wilden Zauber!!

DAGENSSKIVA (Sweden) Efter duo-åren (White Stripes, Death From Above 1979 et al) kanske de ensamstående banden, enmansbanden, kan få några ynka sekunder i rampljuset. De finns där och bubblar i underjorden. Bob Log III är hyfsat väletablerad på festivalscener sen åratal tillbaka. Men det finns andra och bättre. John Schooley är en bluespunkare från Austin, Texas, som spelar frustande rock'n'roll som vore han åtminstone en trio. Trummor, gitarr, munspel och sång är grunden i hans skitiga och slamriga blues som borde få Jack White att ligga sömnlös om nätterna eller Jon Spencer att fundera över om inte mindre smakar mer trots allt.
Som en rabiessmittad hund hamrar han ut infekterade rocklåtar som får mig att dansa och klappa i händerna. Det är rått och simpelt, men ack så effektivt. Hillbillyblues med countrytwang. Det är svettiga danser på barer i de mest bortglömda delarna av småstads-USA. Det är whiskeyindränkt r'n'b-stomp. Det är fest som om det inte finns någon morgondag. Huvudet rakt in i väggen. Patrik Hamberg

I-94 Bar: Imported Texan John Schooley’s status as one of Austin’s most ubiquitous musical talents is enhanced by this 12-tracker on the always intriguing Voodoo Rhythm label from Switzerland. Raw and wild Chicago blues, with the occasional Delta blues reference point, makes for a scorching ride. Raw, rootsy blues with a fucked-up bent is one of the cause celebres of the so-called Garage Rock Revival. What you should know is that Schooley has been ably championing that stuff for years, mixing roots and punk with a string of bands who’ve done their share of touring in the US and Europe. Here, however, the ex-Revelators and Hard Feelings (I think they’re still a going concern) guitarist plays all the instruments himself. While some of his contemporaries concentrate on stripping things right back and selectively turning up the instrumental distortion, Schooley puts everything on 11 and lays down a dark, dense bed of slide and blues harp. Clattering, driving rhythms abound and a cut like “Tiger Man” is so dense you couldn’t penetrate it with a barbecue skewer (which is also a corny segue into a comment that the whole disc “cooks”). There’s the occasional flat vocal to remind you that this is bluesy rock and roll, not a choir ensemble, and Schooley’s guitar playing is nicely, ahem, unschooled. There’s enough going on here to make you forget it’s one man playing everything. Pushing this sort of trashy blues, it was a matter of time that Schooley would end up on Voodoo Rhythm after stints with Sympathy, Crypt and Australia’s own Dropkick. Voodoo Rhythm’s head honcho, Beat-Man, has a personal history of one-man band mayhem and his roster is full of the raw, the rotsy and the outright weird. Beat-Man dipped a toe into the market with a Schooley single in 2004 and the results were encouraging enough to do a full album. Bob Log III has done enough visits Down Under to make you think a Schooley tour is feasible. Presumably, with one mouth to feed the overheads are pretty low. Texas has a musically rich and little-known crop of raw rock bands (see the “Shaking In My Botos” compile on Licorice Tree ). John Schooley’s in solo band mode is another notable from those parts worth cocking an ear to. – The Barman

Loop (Switzerland) Mit den REVELATORS und HARD FEELINGS hat uns JOHN SCHOOLEY nicht nur Klasse Platten ins Regal gestellt, sonder auch live schon mehrmals die Köpfe gewaschen. Höchste Zeit, dass er auch mit seiner grossartigen ONE MAN BAND mal vorbeischaut und die Zuhörer-Kiefer am Boden aufschlagen lässt mit seinen R.L. BURNSIDE erprobten Slide-Gitarre-Furiosos. Zur Einstimmung wird man von einem hypnotisch begleiteten Prediger in ART-MODE-Trance gerappt. Dermassen beweihräuchert steht der Hi-Fi-Party nichts mehr im Weg. Garantierte Smasher wie "Drive you faster", "Chicago Breakdown", "Cat squirrel" oder "I wish you would" wechseln sich mit Midtemposwingern wie "Factory dog" und den Feinmassagebegleitungen "She ain’t coming home" und "Honest I do". Mehr davon schreit die Gier! Die Coverversionen sind clever gewählt, so dass selbst Blues-Puristen die Platte in die Hände nehmen, sich daran aber die Finger verbrennen, und neugierige Garage-Punk-Einsteiger auf die richte Spur gelenkt werden; dies auch wenn ausser dem Titelnamen, ein paar Wortfetzen und die Ahnung eines Patterns meist nicht viel des Originals den Zeitsprung überlebt hat. Schooley, yur me man. (ph niederberger)

Rockerilla Magazine (Italy) Centro di raccolta delle esperienze trash blues punk più belle degli ultimi tempi, la Voodoo Rhythm (magie del rock and roll, un’etichetta Svizzera!) vola ad Austin, Texas e porta a casa John Schooley. Applausi. John è stato l’uomo dietro i Revelators, capaci di un capolavoro quale We Told You Not To Cross (su Crypt) e, più di recente, a guidare il carrozzone degli Hard Feelings. Fate un monumento alla Voodoo. And This One Man Band è P U R O white blues trash, spazzatura rock, il blues visto da un viso pallido assolutamente fuori di testa. John fa tutto da solo: suona la batteria, la chitarra, il tamburello, i piatti, la grancassa, l’armonica. Ma soprattutto, John è uno che sa scrivere canzoni blues devastanti. Il disco si regge su alcune cover da antologia (Holinw Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Rufus Thomas) ma anche (e soprattutto) sulle sue composizioni, sbilenche, profonde, sature: provate a deliziarvi con Factory Dog o con la penetrante She Ain’t Coming Home. Roba da Fat Possum. Palma d’oro alla deragliante versione di Cat Squirrel di Doctor “Isaiah” Ross (padre spirituale di John e “proprietario” di una one man band nel 1965).

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