The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Talk About The Blues (12″, UK)

13 September 1999 Mute 12MUTE226
A1. T.A.T.B. (For The Saints and Sinners remix)

B1. Lovin’ Machine (Automator)
B2. Calvin (Zebra Ranch)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Talk About The Blues (12″, UK) - Cover
Heavy weight, black vinyl 12″ single of Talk About The Blues issued in stickered die-cut card sleeve (black or white) with poly-lined die-cut white paper inner sleeve.

This single, taken from the album Acme, was issued on CD and 12″ in the US and on CD, 12″ and 7″ in the UK.

The 7″ edition of this single included B-Side Wait A Minute and the CD version featured the three tracks T.A.T.B. (For The Saints and Sinners remix), Lovin’ Machine (Automator) and Calvin (Zebra Ranch).

The US CD single had Bacon and Get Down Lover as b-sides which were identical to the UK single release of Magical Colors.

In a 2015 Rolling Stone feature Jon Spencer discusses this song:

“I guess it was related to Rolling Stone. It was spurned on from an interview I did with Joe Levy, who was some guy I knew because we used to work together at Details. Rolling Stone was doing a blues issue, so I did an interview with him for the blues issue. And the interview went fine, but beforehand I got really nervous and worked myself up and that song was written from that anxiety or tension.

At that time we were also starting to get dogged by questions of authenticity and our right to do whatever we were doing. And I think it probably would not have happened if the band had been named anything else. People got tripped up. So that song is commenting on or about all that sort of stuff.

We did that one with [Dan the] Automator. And that’s using some stuff we recorded with Calvin Johnson. Calvin wanted to do a trade. He said, I’ll do a remix if you guys do a session for me. So the next time we were touring the Northwest we left two days or something, three days free, stayed in Olympia and recorded with Calvin. This was when Dub Narcotic was in his house. We just spent two or three days banging around and out of that came the Sideways Soul record on K. But then he graciously allowed us to take some of those recordings. So, “Talk About the Blues” is a sampled from a riff recorded at the old Dub Narcotic studio I basically just played the sampler and just improvised the lyrics. I did a demo on my own like that and then Dan the Automator took it. He basically just took it and beefed it up and made it powerful.

I love the video for that. Now everybody and their fucking mother does the funny video and does the celebrity cameo video. I’m fuckin sick to death of [it]. But if you look at that, that’s us back it what was that ’98? What a great fake band! Winona Ryder, John C. Reilly and Giovanni Ribisi.”

Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion: My Life in 10 Songs

In a 1998 CMJ New Music Monthly article they state that;

Talk About The Blues was written as a direct response to a Rolling Stone review of Now I Got Worry and Q&A with Jon Spencer.

The review asked “what right young, white boys have to play the blues, the scribe opined that “Spencer’s faux backwoods drawl verges on minstrel-show insult.”

What actually sent Spencer off, however, was a tamer Rolling Stone Q&A, in which he answered earnest queries about how a New Hampshire boy fresh from sneering punk deconstructionists Pussy Galore fell for the authentic blues music of Hound Dog Taylor and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

After the interview – perhaps feeling his authenticity in question, perhaps frustrated that the soul, funk and hip-hop sides of his band get overlooked because of the name Blues Explosion – Spencer sat down and wrote “Talk About The Blues.”

‘Acme Blues Explosives, INC’.

The song lyric features a the line “I do not play no blues, I play rock and roll” which is a reference to the album I Do Not Play No Rock ‘n’ Roll by Mississippi Fred McDowell.

In a later Rolling Stone interview Jon Spencer said “I’d rather be known as a rock & roller. I mean we don’t really play blues. How would you describe it? It’s the exact opposite of Mississippi Fred McDowell. He’d always say, “I do not play no rock & roll.” He had a record called that, too. “

Studios: Drama, Electrical, RPM, Greene Street, Waterworks, Dub Narcotic, Big House
Mastering: Andy VanDette and Howie Weinberg at MasterDisk
All songs Spencer/Explosion © 1998 (Dirty Shirt, BMI)

A. Talk About The Blues (For The Saints and Sinners remix)
Writers: Spencer/Explosion
Recorded: Suz Dyer, Calvin Johnson and Greg Talenfeld
Remixed: David Holmes with Tim Goldsworthy, Darren Morris and Phil Mossman
Contains elements from “Looking For A Bargain Part 1” by Rev. W. Leo Daniels. Used by courtesy of MCA Records under license from Universal Music Special Markets Inc. (administered by MCA-Duchess Music Corporation (BMI)

B1. Lovin’ Machine (Automator)
Writers: Spencer/Explosion
Recorded: Steve Albini
Mixed with Dan the Automator
Piano: Gregg Foreman

B2. Calvin (Zebra Ranch)
Writers: Spencer/Explosion
Recored: Calvin Johnson
Mixed: Jim Dickinson
Horn Section: Brass Monkey
Special Guest: Othar Turner

Photography: Evan Bernard
Design: David Warner

BARCODE: 5 016025 202263

A: “12 MUTE 226 A-2-1-1 MADGE ‘N’ MIKE’S – THE EXCHANGE”
B: “12 MUTE 226 B-1-1-1”