BENTLEY'S BANDSTAND: Gurf Morlix, Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream

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BY BILL BENTLEY

Gurf Morlix, Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream, Rootball Records

For those who worship at the altar of Blaze Foley’s songs, there can be no substitute. Foley was a hard liver you never forgot once you’d crossed paths. He was the kind of artist who no-showed at his own album release party at the Austin Outhouse, and then come by the next day to play when no one was there. He ran from success like it was lethal, and when he was murdered in 1989 it was like he’d written his own dramatic end. He wasn’t the kind of guy who was counting on collecting Social Security.

When both Merle Haggard and John Prine cover your songs, that pretty much puts you in the upper stratosphere of writers, so it’s no surprise that Gurf Morlix has recorded an entire album of Blaze Foley originals. Nor is it a shock the results are so arresting. Morlix is a true believer, someone who worked with Foley during his short life and lived to talk about it. On classics like “If I Could Only Fly” and “Rainbows and Ridges,” the stark beauty of the lyrics immediately go past goosebumps and end up residing right next to the heart. Foley was someone who could capture the absolute beauty of life, but also wrote with a first-hand knowledge of the absurd. In many ways, he was like the illegitimate son of Neal Cassady, able to turn living on the run into an art form that explodes right in front of us.

Gurf Morlix puts himself inside these 15 songs as surely as if he’d been there when they were created. From the minimal backup to haunting vocals, Blaze Foley is alive again, there to rattle the funny bone and yank on your heartstrings. For someone who held himself together with duct tape, it’s amazing what an undeniable impact his music made. It takes some super sleuthing to track down Foley’s albums, but it’s worth the work. And now we have a worthy addition to the canon thanks to Morlix on Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream. Next up: a full-tilt documentary to remind us all what we’re missing. Shrimp Cowboy phone home!

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.