If you're reading this, you're probably not checking out Record Store Day. It'd behoove you to do so, because then you can buy the Mekons and Robbie Fulks' latest collaboration, Jura. For me, this is my introduction to both artists. The legendary folk-punk band and musical wunderkind Robbie Folks joined forces on the lonely fishing island of Jura, off the coast of Scotland, to record their next album. This was probably for the benefit of mankind, should anything go awry when their powers were combined. Fortunately, instead of a black hole in the center of Scotland, we got a bad-ass folk album.
For fans of the Mekons' earlier works, Jura might seem tame. One of my friends, a longtime Mekons fan, seemed bemused. Since I don't have much of a frame of reference, I enjoyed the rough-and-tumble scrabble they brought to their songs. All of these folks are road-tested, of course, and years of life on the margins absolutely inform these songs. Some of these songs sound traditional (though I believe they're all originals) -- like "An Incident Off St. Kitt's" -- but the songs that warm the cockles of my heart are, of course, those with strident politics, like "Refill" and "Land Ahoy!"
Jura is an enjoyable footnote on the storied careers of the Mekons and Mr. Fulks. Even if you're not a completest, it's worth adding Jura to your shopping bag. This is, after all, a limited-edition record and it does, after all, document the collaboration between two of the most important artists keeping our respective folk traditions alive. English folk wins out in the balance, but it's important to respect our roots.
Purchase album from Bloodshot Records