2003   APRIL 22   #112

Lee Edwards (The Christian Con Man) - Maui Girl

"The Christian Con Man Goes Hawaiian" is like a three-wheeled Radio Flyer rolling down a rocky hill. It starts slow, but careens out of control by the journey's end. The track "Maui Girl" appears at the point when Lee Edwards is really picking up momentum (or another glass of cheap whiskey). Years ago I first received my copy from Rev. Dwight Frizzell (a great outsider artist in his own right) when I was hosting "The Bad Music Hour" in Kansas City. Everyone within earshot of CCM struggled to extricate meaning from the performance. Is it a melodramatic plea to win back his girl? Is it a maniacal poem describing the girl of his dreams? Is it the drunken ravings of a guy who couldn't press the "stop" button on his tape deck? It doesn't matter. This performance is better than anything I could imagine at the Whitney Biennial.

"He shook her coconuts!"
You'll be compulsively blurting out that line after only one listening.

- Michelle Boulé

TT-5:50 / 6.7MB / 160kbps 44.1khz
from the cassette, "Christian Con Man Goes Hawaiian" (1983)

Irwin Chusid writes in the book, "Songs In The Key Of Z":
"The ancient Zen riddle, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" was devised to free the mind of the constraints of rational thought. In the same spirit, the cassette-only release, Christian Con Man Goes Hawaiian, begs the question, "What is the sound of one tongue flapping?" Lee Edwards, apparently Chicago-based, is Christian, but not overtly evangelical, though he professes the "con man" derives from his "total confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ as [his] savior." His gushing, romantic story-songs begin with awkward, Neil Hamburger - grade jokes, which evolve into organ-accompanied, choked-up paeans to his wife and family, before careening inexplicably into emotional climaxes. CCM rambles like a man who scrupulously observes the nine-drink minimum."