The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Controversial Negro [Promo] (CASSETTE, UK)

June 1997 Mute Records Ltd. S132
A1. Get With It
A2. Can’t Stop
A3. Son of Sam
A4. Cool Vee
A5. Afro
A6. R.L. Got Soul
A7. Blues X Man

B1. Water Main
B2. Love All of Me
B3. Fuck Shit Up
B4. Hot Shot
B5. Skunk
B6. Vacuum of Loneliness
B7. Sticky

Promotional cassette edition of the Controversial Negro live album.

Available as a promo album in the US and UK. Officially released in Japan with five additional tracks (1997) and the 2010 expanded edition featured a total of 29 tracks.

The sleeve for this release is referred to in a 2000 word article titled Mo’ Bitter Blues (Vox, May 1997):

“To the casual observer The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion may seem like little more than surly, self-important nihilists with an all-encompassing persecution complex. Yet their studious reserve in the face of journalistic interrogation is hardly surprising when you consider that the staunch traditionalists of the American rock media have recently branded them as racists, simply because they’ve dared to treat the blues as something other than a sacred museum piece. A situation soon to be exacerbated by the band’s forthcoming promo live album, rather incautiously titled ‘Controversial Negro’ and garishly illustrated with a day-glo Warhol print of Mick Jagger’s iconic countenance. Ultimately, Jon Spencer is playing with fire. He’s gleefully taunting the inverse-racists of so-called liberal America with incendiary images. He is, after all, a graduate of semiotics (the brand of linguistics concerned with signs and symbols), so he knows exactly what he’s doing.

‘Controversial Negro’ works on two distinct levels: firstly it’s a timely reminder to the journalistic ‘squares’ of far simpler times, when Jagger and his Rolling Stones (now untouchable old-guard stalwarts) were similarly decried for ‘bastardizing the blues’; secondly, it’s a forceful visual communiqué that the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion staunchly refuse to be intimidated into artistic compromise.” – Vox, May 1997

The title for this album comes from the Public Enemy song Burn Hollywood Burn from their 1990 album Fear of a Black Planet. Towards the end of the track someone asks Flava Flav the following question:

“Now we’re considering how do you for a part in our new production, how do you feel about playing a controversial negro?”

Song credits shown below are as they appear on Controversial Negro [2010]:

Live sound by Peter Arsenault

Recorded live November 25, 1996 at The Hotel Congress in Tuscon, Arizona, by Jim Waters, assisted: Saylor Breckenridge
Mixed by Jim Waters at Waterworks West

All songs:
Writers: Spencer/Explosion
Published: Dirty Shirt, BMI


A1. Get With It
Writers: Explosion/Feathers
Published: Dirty Shirt, BMI/C. Feathers Publishing, BMI

A2. Can’t Stop
Writers: Explosion/Nishita
Published: Dirty Shirt, BMI/Fido Speaks Music, BMI

A3. Son of Sam
Writers: Luanda/Gee
Published: Kapitalist Music, ASCAP

B3. Fuck Shit Up
Writers: Dub Narcotic
Published: Gravedigger Blues, BMI