Happy birthday. Jeffrey Lee Pierce.

The Gun Club’s 1981 debut, Fire of Love, is an absolutely essential record in any collection of modern American music. Combining Blues, Country and Rockabilly influences, with Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s Punk American Gothic literary bent, Fire of Love perfectly fuses all ingredients into it’s own unique cocktail. When I first bought a copy, at about 14, I became absolutely obsessed with, even to the point of disappointment with their subsequent recordings. And while I do maintain that Fire of Love is JLP’s greatest musical achievement, lyrically he was just beginning to develop his voice, penning some of the best examples of American songwriting, in the wake of his opening salvo.

Random sidebar: Several years ago, at three shows within roughly a month’s time, I heard three bands cover Sex Beat; The Coathangers, Paint Fumes, and (I think) King Khan. The Jeffrey Lee Pierce shadow looms large.