Fuck Me Up – Pokey LaFarge

I remember Pokey LaFarge. But I don’t remember Pokey LaFarge like this. That’s not as long a stretch as the references might wish to have you believe. If you’ve never heard of him or his band none of this will make sense. Yet.

Pokey first got on my radar with a chirpy little old timey ditty called Something In The Water back in 2015. His schtick back then was modern day ragtime blues. Dressed like an early 20th century pre-rock and roll spiv. He would fop about in the same way St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Edgar ‘Jones’ Jones, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and Imelda May did for the retro pin up crowd to great effect. Nothing wrong with that. Puppini Sisters, The Urban Voodoo Machine, Seasick Steve & Big Bad Voodoo Daddy have all sent many a party crowd home with a spring in their step. I’ve enjoyed every one of those bands live and hope to one day add Pokey to that list.

This though. This was the lead single of his fourth album in just shy of a decade (eight albums overall since 2006). Fuck Me Up is potent. It’s still doing all the ‘could have come from anytime in the history of recorded music’ thing his other records do. All pretensions to this being some cutesy retro kitsch thing are gone now. I mean, it’s not just the title. Though that’s a big sign. It’s from an album called Rock Bottom Rhapsody which was released last April. Listen to Fuck Me Up and you’re sure Pokey isn’t chasing a novelty hit. Look at the body of work and you realise (or I realised anyway) there is a whole scene for this stuff not just the odd track that bubbles over into the wider world.

I know some of the girls at work go to these events where they all put their hair up in victory rolls and wear retro gear while dancing to new old time music. I didn’t realise it was a whole thing. Like being a Hip Hopper or Metalhead or an Indie Kid is a whole scene. But it is. They have their own festivals for this stuff. There are trends within the subculture. I mean it stands to reason. I just never realised.

Like Northern Soul I assumed it was a dead scene. A pool of diminishing returns. Wait! I’m not picking a fight with Northern Soul or it’s fans. My Mate Dave is a Northern Soul obsessive. He’s the one who talks about a scene where there are an amount of ‘known’ copies of rare collectibles and the ‘known’ locations of which collections they all sit in. He talks about the trade in unopened promo envelopes of singles like he’s Dr Gonzo getting his hands on a real human adrenaline gland. It’s deep nerd state stuff and the internet is making them worse. We just see eye to eye on Amy Winehouse, Jon Spencer and The Cramps so we have something to talk about.

Fuck Me Up is a gallows pole chant of a song. It’s a desperate man at the end of his American Gothic road trip. The fact it’s played on a barroom piano by a guy in a devil costume is just the way it has to be.

I can see the real big Country and Rock names digging on Fuck Me Up. I get the impression Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, Mark Lanegan and The Man In Black would all approve of this.

I’m going to throw in the video for Bluebird from the same album as Fuck Me Up too. Because it’s a riot.

6 thoughts on “Fuck Me Up – Pokey LaFarge

  1. I have a lot of time for Pokey LaFarge, man. I got onboard with Middle of Everywhere and as nice as that album was, he’s really shown over the last 10 years that he’s more than the ragtime revivalist.

    Liked by 1 person

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