Friday, July 20, 2007

Baptist Blacktick

B-sides don't get much better than this. "Baptist Blacktick" originally appeared on the "Summer Babe" 7", their only release on Drag City before heading off to Matador. It later appeared on DC's collection of early Pavement singles and EP's, Westing (by Musket and Sextant). That's where I discovered this gem, but I never really appreciated it until hearing the single. My cousin loaned me his copy as he bragged about grabbing it before it was ever placed on the shelf. I still have it and may never let it go.

Coming of age in the grunge era steered me toward more aggressive rock. Songs with great urgency attracted my attention. "Baptist" had that urgency with a large dose of sloppiness. The tempo is way faster than later Pavement material as Stephen Malkmus frantically tries to keep pace with his flat, California drawl.

The metaphor of a black tick (black-legged or deer tick?) sucking the life from our hero always painted a picture of this black-attired Baptist preacher who would ride around the Reconstruction-era South, distributing his own sort of divine justice, sort of an evil religious zealot in Zorro drag. It's too literal, but I thought he'd make a great comic book villain. Either way, he pisses off SM tremendously causing him to break from his deadpan delivery into a painful scream after achingly repeating the chorus. This is one of my all-time favorite moments in indie rock history:

"I'm just waiting, waiting for the Baptist/That fucker...ahhhhhh..."
It may have been the f-word that grabbed my attention, but it got to me. Still does.


John said...

Actually, most of the stuff on Westing was from DC releases, including the Demolition Plot J-7 and Perfect Sound Forever EPs.

comoprozac said...

Thanks John for the correction. I was lazy and just looked on Wikipedia.