Andrew McLatchie is better known for his bluesy persona Half Deaf Clatch. However, a few years ago, he decided to do something a little different. After a discussion with author Richard Wall, they began work on a musical and literary collaboration.
What started as a fun idea grew into a project which would see them create their own Spaghetti Western. An idea focused around the character Beelzebub Jones. McLatchie designed the theme for the album which creates a captivating soundtrack blending a dark americana style with a western backdrop. Wall wrote a short story based on a synopsis of the album’s theme.
Under the name of Beelzebub Jones, they released the first part of what would become a trilogy, A Good Day To Be A Bad Guy. Its opening track “Nicotine, Liquor & Blasphemy” instantly sets up the mood with a compelling instrumental arrangement. As you would expect from any good western movie. Then McLatchie’s growly vocals come in to let the story begin.
Each song progresses the story with the lyrics painting so many scenes but, it is his musical talents which steal the show, none more than the outstanding moments “Never Take Me Alive” and “Vultures”. If you read the accompanying story after hearing the album, these will come to mind when reading the chapter “The Getaway”.
Beelzebub Jones is the bad and ugly but the soundtrack to his story is definitely the good
The Forsaken Territory continues the story. It takes a 10-year jump from the first instalment as we see Beelzebub Jones and his trusty horse continue their journey. Again, McLatchie sets the mood with more of his instrumental arrangements. From then the songs start to flow naturally and with more confidence compared to A Good Day To Be A Bad Guy. Taken nothing away from the debut, but this is a case when the sequel is better.
There are so many more exceptional moments such as “Bastard of the Badlands” which is the perfect description of the leading character Beelzebub Jones. “The Town of Trinity” has more of a playful manner, but the lyrics shine as they describe the backdrop for the next part of the tale. But, no songs stand out more than “Hangman’s Hill” (part one and two). The atmospheric sound and its emotional tone are captivating from beginning to end. As the story ends with To Be Continued, it leaves the listener/reader wondering how this trilogy will end.
Now to the newly released Doomsday Desperado! The final instalment of the Beelzebub Jones trilogy. Its opening track has a different tone to the albums prior. The musicianship shines yet again as McLatchie’s arrangement enriches the release’s storytelling tone. His guitar intertwines with the various other instruments to create a darkly atmospheric soundtrack.
As Doomsday Desperado! progresses, McLatchie storytelling qualities with his lyrics get some time to shine. When they do, it draws in the listener as “The One of Four” and “The Dead Man’s Hand” can testify. The depth and imagery they provoke add so much to the listening experience.
Listen to “Doomsday Desperado!” below
However, to hear this album at its best, its finale “The Final Showdown” has it all. Running just over 20 minutes, this has a captivating cinematic feel that has a lot to offer. It begins with yet another instrumental intro before McLatchie sets the stage Beelzebub Jones showdown with his arch-nemesis. His guitar as always has so much to say. It also does a sublime job of reflecting the mood of the scene. Like the rest of the songs throughout this trilogy, the use of the various layers of music combines to create a soundtrack which guarantees to hold the listener’s attention with its ever-changing mood. As for how the story ends, you will have to find out by listening to the album and reading the accompanying book.
Overall, the Beelzebub Jones trilogy is an outstanding adventure that deserves your time. Personally, listening to the music first followed by reading the short stories is the best way to go. As reading the words gives it a running soundtrack in your head. Whatever your preference, these albums are essential listening.