Devil in the Flesh cover

Devil in the Flesh


Originally released in 1998, Devil In The Flesh is a collaboration between Billy Childish and Dan Melchior, with Kyra of Thee Headcoatees on drum, singular. Melchior sings all the songs on the first side, while Childish takes over on the second. At times, their version of the blues is so distorted and noisy it sounds like a low-budget take on Tom Waits’ Bone Machine. The songs are mostly set to an ultra-minimal thwacking beat reminiscent of John Lee Hooker, who used to stomp his foot on a crate as he played, keeping idiosyncratic and hypnotic time. Five of the tracks are by Melchior; two are by Childish; one is co-credited to both men; and four others are versions of Muddy Waters songs: “Trouble No More,” “Deep Down In My Heart,” “Just To Be With You” and “Honey Bee.” The record’s got an explosive energy, even on slow songs — this is the blues as working-class purgation.

Phil Freeman