Galas, Diamanda / La Serpenta Canta
Album: La Serpenta Canta   Collection:General
Artist:Galas, Diamanda   Added:Dec 2003
Label:Mute Records Ltd  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2004-02-16 Pull Date: 2004-04-19
Week Ending: Apr 11 Apr 4 Mar 28 Mar 21 Mar 14 Mar 7 Feb 22
Airplays: 1 2 1 1 2 1 3

Recent Airplay
1. Feb 09, 2020: DAY OF NOISE 2020 Supplement w the Shiney One
Blue Spirit Blues
4. Aug 09, 2007: It's not Gavin
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
2. Apr 06, 2013: Music Casserole
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
5. Dec 14, 2004: Civil Approximation
Burning Hell
3. Mar 06, 2013: Sunflower Sutra
Ain't no Grave Can Hold My
6. Apr 10, 2004: "Live-In Your Ear..." Opening Night!
Ain't no Grave Can Hold My, Intro

Album Review
Reviewed 2004-02-09
Diamanda continues on her dual-track career. On this track, she resurrects (or possibly sucks the blood out of, depending on your viewpoint) classic and far-from-classic blues, jazz, soul, country, and gospel tracks. Her aim is to act as memory and conscience – remembering and honoring outcasts, which include these tunes and their original (mostly black) performers, those living and dying with AIDS, those killed in long-ago genocides, and those just plain unfortunate. Her interpretations are overenunciated, overwrought, melodically precise, and (to the novice, unexpectedly) operatic in vocals, contrasting with her own sparse and earthy piano accompaniment. I wish that she demonstrated a bit more of her humor, but that’s restricted here to the self-penned “Baby’s Insane”, which is frankly not in the league of the other tracks here nor is it the “light” equal of her impressive “heavy” works (demonstrated on the contemporaneously issued Defixiones album). Hey, dramatic portraiture too! This compelling music is worth at least several of your listens to appreciate where it’s coming from.

2. Gospel-flavored blues given a desperate, dirty vocal treatment … until towards the end, Galas launches into a clear-as-bell soaring ululation, obviously symbolizing resurrection
3. Somber but assertive piano solo, much of it on the bass-end, starts; vocals commence with a great sigh and then go into emo mode – relatively restrained verses contemplating the titular hell and comparatively uncontrolled roars through the upper registers, seeing the reality of that hell (perhaps even on earth)
4. Cartoonishly wrought and violent, it can’t be but a knowing self-parody
5. The most frightening/frightful Hank Williams cover ever – even Hank would die of fright at hearing this raw outpouring of grief in several registers – operatic soprano, guttural baritone
6. An Ornette Coleman song that in this rendition just wanders aimlessly
7. Almost a pop song in this context, this is a boxed-in, melodic, and rhythmic piece

1. Another straightforward piano blues; nothing too memorable
2. Warbly (as if untuned) piano introduces this Motown classic; Galas’ pre-cise e-nun-ci-a-tion and defiantly imprecise tone make this stick as an interpretation
3. This stripped and wild cover, including what sounds like a radio broadcast, Satanic laughing, ear-shredding FX, and a preternaturally grounded walking bassline, makes the Screamin’ Jay original sound sedate
4. A pretty song, even with Galas’ sharp vocal delivery … not tender, but pretty
5. Tin Pan Alley classic (no, not the Springsteen song) given a queasy treatment on piano but an earnest treatment on voice
6. Raunchy, uptempo blues; Galas’ humorous delivery is greatly entertaining but watch for that “fuck your asshole” line
7. After “I Put On A Spell On You”, this is Galas’ most famous blues/gospel retrofit – she pleads, wails, pounds, growls, prays, moans, sings angelically, and in the end, throws herself on your mercy to please see that her grave is kept clean; no doubt her fans will oblige when she does die; simply awe-demanding
8. Shorter (tho’ still 5 minutes) reprise of CD1tk3; this version’s almost swinging

Track Listing
1. Intro   8. Blue Spirit Blues
2. Ain't no Grave Can Hold My   9. My World Is Empty Without Yu
3. Burning Hell   10. I Put a Spell on You
4. Baby's Insane   11. At the Dark End of the Stree
5. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry   12. Dancing in the Dark
6. Lonely Woman   13. Dead Cat on the Line
7. Frenzy   14. See that My Grave Is Kept
  15. Burning Hell