Howe Gelb is a goddamn institution. Over the past three decades he has released 25 albums with the mercurial outfit Giant Sand (originally known as Giant Sandworm, most lately known as Giant Giant Sand), and almost as many albums under his own name (#20, Dust Bowl, is available right now). His career is an example of consistency, experimentation, and collaboration, and whether you’ve heard a note of the music he’s made over the years, you just have to look at his discography to know he’s worthy of respect. The Giant Sand Wikipedia page also contains one of the best sentences on the Internet: “Guest artists over the last 3 decades have included Victoria Williams, Neko Case, Juliana Hatfield, PJ Harvey, Vic Chesnutt, Steve Wynn, Vicki Peterson, Rainer Ptacek, M. Ward, Isobel Campbell, nearly all members of the band Poi Dog Pondering, and Indiosa Patsy Jean (Gelb and [ex-wife, ex-bass player, and ex-Go-Go Paula Jean] Brown’s daughter).” Obviously Gelb is one of the coolest people in the world.
It should surprise nobody at this point that the DJs at KCMU were on the Giant Sand bandwagon early and often. It seems Gelb and Co. had a number of admirers in Seattle as early as their fourth album, 1988’s The Love Songs. Whether it’s with this record or last year’s Tucson, you should probably be on that bandwagon yourself if you’re not already.
“These guys hail from Az. Cool LP. Have quite the Seattle following. Previous LP was only serviced as a import (we didn’t get it). Try.”
“But we have 1st LP!”
“‘Mountain of Love‘ – one solid, rocking tune.”
“Actually, the Seattle following consists mostly of Scott Sutherland from Chem Set. A great record regardless, should be in H.”
“One solid, rocking album (sorry, Neil).”
“2-4! I’ll fess up – I’ve always been a fan too!”
“Like Greg Sage, Howie Gelb is revered in Europe – no one gives a fuck here. [Obviously that’s not entirely true.] Another great disc.”
“Sorry that you didn’t let Neil say it first?”
“2-5 is a Peggy Lee cover.”
“2-5 – Lieber & Stoller”