The Residents present Alvin Snow, AKA Dyin’ Dog
The Residents are pleased to sponsor the release of nine 45 rpm demo songs recorded in the mid 1970s by long lost bluesman, Alvin Snow, aka Dyin’ Dog. Brought to their attention in 2016 by musician and colleague, Roland Sheehan, the group was amazed by the quality and intensity of these previously unheard recordings. Compelled by the passion of Snow’s performance, the band persuaded us at Psychofon Records to release all nine demos in a deluxe boxset and let Dyin’ Dog speak for himself.
I’m in the dark and all alone
Cut to the quick an’ beat to the bone
I’ve never been sorry, I’ve never been sad
I’ve never been nice, I’ve just been bad
– Dyin’ Dog
Many of The Residents’ early musical influences – Bo Diddley, Bobby Blue Bland and Howlin’ Wolf among others – came from the American South, the Home of the Blues;
Consequently, the group often discussed a project based on this classic form, but an appropriate entry escaped them. The genre was compelling but simply reinterpreting the work of blues greats was too obvious, too straight forward, too lacking in inspiration – so they worked on other projects… and time passed…
Later, in 2013, the group was approached by filmmaker Don Hardy with the idea of creating a Residents’ documentary. The idea was intriguing; they felt a rapport with Hardy, plus they liked the idea of including old friends, people who could help connect the vast array of dots echoing the group’s hazy history. One of the first people they introduced to the filmmaker was Roland Sheehan, a musician friend from Dubach, Louisiana. Back in the mid 1960s, Sheehan was in a band, The Alliance, managed by long time Residents’ producer, Hardy Fox, with both sharing an acquaintance with the then unnamed Residents. Making a notable appearance in the film, Roland describes his involvement in the band’s formation; and, after a lapse of several decades, the group was happy to reconnect.
During a family visit to Louisiana a few months later, one of The Residents was having lunch with Roland Sheehan when the subject of the blues came up.
He casually mentioned the band’s interest, and subsequent frustration, but the conversation quickly moved on and the musician forgot about it… but Roland didn’t. A few weeks passed before The Residents received an unexpected call; excited, Sheehan mentioned the group’s long stalled blues project and said he had an idea. In the mid 1970s, a few years after he spent the summer enabling the emerging Residents, Roland met Alvin Snow, an albino blues singer he worked with for a short time. According to Sheehan, he formed a band with Snow and recorded several demos for Jewel Records, an indie label owned by Stan Lewis, a well known record shop and label owner in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Excited by the demos, Sheehan and Lewis renamed the singer Dyin’ Dog, and were organizing Snow’s first performance when the albino suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing more than a lingering sense of unfulfilled promise in his wake. Over the years, Roland Sheehan had forgotten the Dyin’ Dog demos – until his recent lunch meeting. Stimulated, he searched through boxes, files and cabinets in the abandoned Dubach movie theater where he had practiced in the 60s and 70s with both the Alliance, his band, and Dyin’ Dog’s group, the Mongrels, until he finally found the long lost demos. Timid and visibly nervous, Sheehan was offering the frayed and forgotten Dyin’ Dog 45s to The Residents as inspiration for their forlorn blues project. Surprised and skeptical, the group hesitated; reluctant to disappoint their friend, they saw little hope in a stack of dust covered fifty year old recordings, but the path of creativity is seldom straight and often unseen, until…
Amazed at the quality and intensity of the ancient recordings, The Residents were completely blown away. While the fate of Alvin Snow, aka Dyin’ Dog, will undoubtedly remain a mystery, the validity of his songs is unchallenged. Consequently The Residents feel compelled to give the lost bluesman’s music the exposure it so obviously deserves.
With the support of Psychofon Records, on Sept 28, 2019, The Residents are sponsoring the release of a boxed set containing the long lost Dyin’ Dog Demos. In addition, the band is already hard at work re-creating their own versions of Alvin Snow’s songs for their next album, Metal, Meat & Bone – The Songs of Dyin’ Dog – to be released in February of 2020.
A – Bury my Bones
B – River Runs Dry
A – Die! Die! Die!
B – Pass for White
A – Hungry Hound
B – The Dog’s Dream
A – I Know
B – Tell Me
A – Mamma don’t go
B – Blank