Song Of The Day 10/29/2014: French Frith Kaiser Thompson - "Now That I Am Dead"



Halloween Week: Let's squeeze one in on a technicality today, shall we? French Frith Kaiser Thompson was a supergroup of the under-appreciated: John French, aka Drumbo from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band; British avant-garde multi-tasker Fred Frith of Henry Cow; Bay Area guitar godhead Henry Kaiser; and Richard Thompson, the world's greatest living guitarist and possibly songwriter. They pooled their resources for two albums, and today's song was on Invisible Means, which sidled up to record racks in 1990 on Windham Hill(!) Records. I actually considered another of their songs for today called "March Of the Cosmetic Surgeons," which is creepier by points, but didn't fit with the whole moribund theme. "Now That I Am Dead," though, well, it's got "dead" right there in the title. I do my research.

I've seen Richard Thompson in concert probably around nine or ten times, and every once in awhile he'd perform "Now That I Am Dead" in acoustic sets. So, knowing that Thompson has a penchant for writing incisively funny topical numbers, naturally I assumed he wrote this song. But I'd never heard the original version before last night, and when I did I realized it wasn't Richard singing on the record. I didn't know which of the other three it was, so I headed over to the exhaustively helpful website discogs.com and found out that not only did Richard not sing this song, he's not credited with writing it -- Drumbo is! Get out! So with this new information, it's only logical to assume this is French on vocals as well.

The topic of the song is probably all too familiar to those of us who've followed any kind of popular music over the past forty years. Hendrix to Cobain to Winehouse. Same damn story. Enjoy.
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