Jack Barlow – Baby, Ain’t That Love (Dot – DLP 25923) (1969)


based on interview with psychologist Prince Asbo conducted 28th July 2011.

Mr. Barlow’s perception of events is likely to be significantly influenced by a long series of confused, cumulative and traumatic family and social experiences. He makes repeated fantastical claims, with details both banal and surreal, in a rich Basso Profundo voice full of a kind of corn-pone sentimentality. Barlow asserts by way of explaining/excusing his larcenous behaviour that his “Papa didn’t give me no love/He didn’t care if us kids went hungry” and that “He didn’t bother to take me fishin'”. He alleges that his “Momma tried to kill [him] three months before he was born/And daddy killed himself one sunny Sunday morn.” Whether or not his testimony can be trusted is open to question as he later claims that a man named Andrew Irvin shot and killed his “hot-headed Papa” (whom he later refers to as an “uncarin’, no good dad”) 20 years ago “up on Tucker’s Hill.”

As a result of his very vivid fantasies, his fight or flight responses are immediate, frequent and rapid (Barlow admits that he’s “gotta a lotta Devil in [him]” and further offers that the “devil [has] listed [him] as next of kin”) suggesting that he perceives threats within many everyday events. His ability to rationalise, predict and infer remains compromised by his arousal levels which affect higher order thinking: frequent trouble at school (“for some strange reason I was slow in school”) and difficult, borderline abusive interactions with teachers (who he claims “stood him in the corner and called him ‘Fred the Fool'”) have no doubt exacerbated feelings of rejection and bitterness towards authority figures in general. “Ain’t that love?” he asked rhetorically after listing a series of rejection both familial and societal. “I can’t give what I never had,” he says he says of his uneasy relationships women. “And I’ll hurt you if I can.” Certainly, he is an unrecontructed sexist: “Shut your mouth woman”, “Get out of my way woman”, and “Let go of my shirt-tails woman” are frequent rejoinders.

Clearly (if understandably) sociopathic, Barlow has lived a nomadic adulthood moving from Texas to Utah to Alabam’ to Memphis to Nashville to Nebraska and finally to Alaska–all the while chasing “elusive dreams and schemes”. And when he “didn’t find it [the elusive dream] there, we moved on”. It was in the latter location where Barlow suffered another cruel fate: the loss of his child. Though not specific on details, he tells that it happened near a bogus gold mine.

While several pathologies are in evidence from this interview, he shows some capacity for remorse, saying, regarding his marital infidelity: “My conscience is slowing [sic] with my head bowed low” and “We [he and his lover] did some things we both knew was wrong.” Barlow’s perceptive self-diagnosis is a “case of the Birmingham blues”

In light of these findings, immediate institutionalisation is recommended until such time as Mr. Barlow can be re-integrated into society, a scenario which seems unlikely at this point.

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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