Song Premiere: Freakons “Blackleg Miner”

Listen & Watch Song Premieres

Freakons — “Blackleg Miner”

Americana Highways presents this video premiere of the Freakons’ version of the tradition 19th century song “Blackleg Miner,” from their forthcoming self-titled album, due to be available on March 25 via Fluff and Gravy Records.  (This song will be released on January 28.)  The album was recorded at Hideout Tavern Chicago by Metro Mobile (Dan Glomski and Timothy R Powell) and Kingsize Soundlabs (John Abbey).  It was mixed by Freakons and John Abbey, and mastered at Joyride Studio (Blaise Barton).

The band is the Mekons and Freakwater combined: Sally Timms on lead vocals; Janet Beveridge Bean on acoustic guitar and backing vocal; Catherine Irwin on backing vocal; Jon Langford on percussive guitar and “shh”; Jean Cook on violin and “shh”; Anna Krippenstapel on violin and “shh”; and Jim Elkington on electric guitars.

What an exciting merger.

Jon Langford created the video, which utilizes the artwork by by Jo Clauwaert from the gatefold LP. This folk song is of a kind that rarely appears nowadays, and is a captivating choice.  People who are barely making ends meet clash in harsh, difficult situations — desperate -scabs working when the workers are already striking against unforgiving work and living conditions.  The Freakons’ version of this song is perfectly and appropriately somber as it conveys the resentment with their adept and honed playing.  And be sure to notice the “shh” peppered into the mix as a rallying point!

On the track, Sally Timms doles out some rough justice on what will be the debut single from FREAKONS. Taken from our forthcoming self titled album, we track a seam of gorgeous shiny black coal from Northumberland to South Wales and across under the cruel Atlantic to Kentucky. A 19th century English folk song from the Northumberlland region, the song is believed to originate from the miners’ lockout of 1844. The song is one of the most controversial English folk songs owing to its depiction of violence against strikebreakers. The message is loud and clear… Don’t cross that picket line! In the end, the lockout largely collapsed as a result of “blackleg” labour.

I never really liked concept albums but accidentally we made one. How best to present the complexities of the tales we were trying to tell? We decided to use the considerable talents of Belgian artist Jo Clauwaert to create a Freakons universe where our tunes and lyrics could take on some coherent visual form… — Jon Langford

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