All Them Witches – Live in Brussels

Live in Brussels by psychedelic blues rockers All Them Witches (Ben McLeod – guitars, Charlie Michael Parks, Jr. – vocals, bass, and guitar, Robby Staebler – drums, Allan Van Cleve – keyboards and violin) is one of those rare live records that pulls off a double feat. It makes you want to see them live and it makes you want to hear their new record as soon as possible.

I mean, the album opens with “The Death of Coyote Woman,” (in which Charlie Parks apologizes for the band “not being the best at being on time”), over ten minutes of stunning, fuzzy psych-rock that would make the MC5 and Pink Floyd proud. “Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird” keeps the guitar distortion on thick, which is all right with me. It flows into the stunning “When God Comes Back” that has both blues and metal fans nodding in time.

“Dirt Preachers” (from their excellent album Dying Surfer Meets His Maker) takes on a cool new tone with the excellent keyboard work by Van Cleve on it. “The Marriage of Coyote Woman” is a slick blues jam. The keyboards on “Elk.Blood.Heart” are like something from an early Peter Frampton record. The guitars on “Open Passageways” are a bit Middle Eastern, which is a nice touch. “Talisman” is a gritty folk ballad and a favorite among the crowd, especially when it transforms into an early Pink Floyd-like jam.

Speaking of epic jams, wait until you hear “Blood and Sand – Milk and Endless Waters,” which clocks in at 14:40. It’s a stunner with a lot of great keyboard work from Van Cleve. “Mountain” is a great blend of Americana and pysch-rock. “Heavy – Like a Witch” is another trippy rocker, and “Charles William” is a solid close to the set…until the encore when they play their version of a blues classic – “My Last Name Is the Blues.” It’s over eleven minutes of psych-blues freak-out and was worth the price of admission for the Brussels crowd.

You can get this whole album for free, by the way. I suggest you leave a tip to be nice. They suggest six bucks on their Noisetrade page, and that’s a steal for something this good.

Keep your mind open.

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Nik Havert

I've been a music fan since my parents gave me a record player for Christmas when I was still in grade school. The first record I remember owning was "Sesame Street Disco." I've been a professional writer since 2004, but writing long before that. My first published work was in a middle school literary magazine and was a story about a zoo in which the animals could talk.

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