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Herschell Gordon Lewis - "The South's Gonna Rise Again" b/w "Moonshine Mountain"

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Artist: Herschell Gordon Lewis

Album: "The South's Gonna Rise Again" b/w "Moonshine Mountain"

Label: Smog Veil

Review date: Mar. 29, 2004

Perhaps unsatisfied with the reverence sardonic hipsters and outre film geeks harbor for his ’60s and ’70s oeuvre, low-budget gore filmmaker, marketing guru and ace interview subject Herschell Gordon Lewis is staging a comeback. The fresh sequel to his 1963 calling card Blood Feast is “now in release,” according to his website, and he’s re-recorded two self-penned bluegrass ditties with the reunited Amazing Pink Holes.

After the success of the 1964 bleeder 2000 Maniacs! (track down Jim Goad’s thundering treatise “The Redneck Manifesto” for a provocative breakdown of this film as a working class revenge fantasy), HGL returned to hillbilly caricatures for Moonshine Mountain, which he describes as a “family film,” meaning not quite the usual preponderance of blood ‘n’ insides. For comparison, you’ll find the low-fi original of Maniacs! theme “The South’s Gonna Rise Again” on The Eyepopping Sounds of Herschell Gordon Lewis alongside an entirely different Moonshine Mountain theme, also recreated here.

Lewis has more formal musical training than the average indie-rocker (he played violin as a lad) but comparing these deadpan frolics to genuine bluegrass is unfair. As ramshackle homage, though, they’re a lot of fun.

Lewis’s avuncular baritone has improved with age (he’s like Leonard Cohen that way). Cleveland’s Amazing Pink Holes supposedly haven’t played together in a decade and a half, but they seem squarely cognizant of the “insurgent country” Bloodshot Records has been dispensing in their absence, where sprawling banjo lyricism gives way to propulsive, distorted guitar chugging. The band hits the “yeeeeee-HA!” hook more directly than the entire 2000 Maniacs! cast did on the original. And the kazoo and slide-whistle solos are new and as charming as could be expected.

By Emerson Dameron

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