Outsider R&B vet T. Valentine is no stranger to the Reader. He appeared in The Secret History of Chicago Music back in 2012, a dozen years after Norton released a compilation of his scattered, decades-long recordings, Hello Lucille … Are You A Lesbian? The title of the Norton album shares its name with Valentine’s 1985 seven-inch, a bizarre novelty record that made it into the rotation at Northwestern University’s student station, WNUR, and garnered a cult status as the years marched on. Valentine’s continued to make music since then, and the same year he appeared in Secret History he released a full-length with New York blues punks Daddy Long Legs called The Vampire.
The album is characterized as a play in three parts, loosely focused on the vampire referenced in the title. On the title track Valentine mumbles and shouts through something like a short play—he recites the dialogue for each character (it can be hard to tell how many characters exist on just a couple listens) and describes the stage directions for a vampire looking for a late-night snack. “The Vampire” is odd and requires a certain amount of patience, but with Daddy Long Legs’s noirish, minimal strokes the whole thing begins to pay off once Valentine delivers his guttural moans and screams toward the song’s end.
“The Vampire” is dramatic, which fits its description as a play, and I imagine Valentine is able to deliver it vigorously when he performs in the flesh. I hope the octogenarian plays “The Vampire” on Saturday during the taping of the Halloween episode of cable-access dance party Chic-a-Go-Go. The Promontory hosts the Chic-a-Go-Go taping, which kicks off at 1 PM; the Cave Dwellers and Fast Decay will also make an appearance, and the event is free! Get into the spirit and give “The Vampire” a listen—it’s today’s 12 O’Clock Track.