Camel Lips (The Spondooli Other / 2005)

A collection of ramshackle field recordings of folk musics from across Spondoolistan….

In between Spondoolies, I was experimenting more with home recording my own material.  A few tunes were in Spondoolish territory but didn’t quite fit our repertoire.  Some were recording experiments that contained spontaneous improvisations, percussion or editing effects – in other words, not easy to replicate the performance or sound.  I compiled these roughly-hewn lo-fi sketches into the limited edition “mini-album” Camel Lips, under the moniker of the Spondooli Other, and we sold them or gave them away at gigs as prizes.  The cover was kind of “anti-design” in keeping with the lo-fi material, and presented with liner notes (“academic flubberings”) as an “anthropillogical” document – to wit, field recordings of folk music styles from across Spondoolistan.


There is one track played by the Spondooli Bros proper – Gadjo Blues, an improvised rehearsal of the piece in its early days, and its only existing recording.  She Sweats Velvet later became the opening track on my solo album Marzipan.  The title track Camel Lips was an impromptu excursion recorded when someone lent me a banjo for the afternoon – the first & only time I’ve played one.  In my ignorance I had it tuned in a minor key, which enabled the Egyptian riff to pop forth.  The percussion is me drumming darabuka-style on the banjo skin.  Turklepants and Blacque Djugg were two of my earliest ukulele experiments, and I will say no more on the subject.  An abridged Fools! Cannibals! did momentarily find its way into the Spondooli Bros repertoire during the last days, but the Camel Lips disc carries the original version in all its long-winded, shambolic glory.

I had a lot of fun writing the liner notes for each track.  I’d designed a Ye Olde style map of Spondoolistan which I included in the CD cover art, and I connected each song to its own region within the map, having of course traversed the country myself, gathering the recordings.  I completed the liner notes with the disclaimer, tongue-only-partially-in-cheek:

“While some efforts were made to achieve reasonable sound quality on these field recordings, the integrity of the artistic moment took priority.  We cannot be responsible for imperfections caused by drunk musicians, intemperate camels & other technical truancies which may sound awful on your home stereo.”  Those damned intemperate camels…

Map of Spondoolistan © Bradfield Dumpleton