Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wet Willie - Wet Willie (1971)

This is Wet Willie's debut album from 1971. On this record the band was getting close to becoming that great R&B/Soul infused Southern Rock band, but the music slightly less Funky than their later outings. Some pretty good songs, though. And already you could hear that this band was a class apart. All played with great enthusiasm and verve. Excellent vocals by Jimmy Hall (as always) and splendid picking throughout. If you don't know Wet Willie, I suggest you do something about that right now. Have a good time!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Calibre 12 - A Bout Portant (1998)

Calibre 12 is a Southern Rock band from France. Yeah, you read that right. Or can't that be so?! Well, there's an interesting discussion for you fans of Southern Rock. Can Southern sounding Rock, which is not actually from any of the Southern United States, be called Southern Rock? And if so, where do you draw the line? I have several examples posted on my blog. Was it OK for me to post Duke Jupiter's "Sweet Cheeks"? They were from New York, but the album was recorded at the Capricorn studios, produced by Chuck Leavell and features Southern Rock veterans like Randall Bramblett, Jai Johanny Johnson and Chuck Leavell guesting. Or what about George Hatcher. He may have been from North Carolina, but his first 4 studio album featured mostly British musicians. Moonshine were from The Netherlands, but their version of "In The Morning" was much appreciated by Mama's Pride's Pat Liston. I guess it depends what you're definition of Southern Rock is. When the first bands from the South emerged, that would later epitomize Southern Rock, the music wasn't called that just yet. They were referred to as Southern Rock because of their geographical origins. Those early years are really special. Because eventhough bands like the Allmans, Charlie Daniels, Wet Willie, Skynyrd and Grinderswitch would play such different styles, you could hear by the tone of their playing that they were from the South. The same tone that could also be heard on old Southern Soul classics, which is only logical, since they were played by white Southern musicians (Travis Wammack, Steve Cropper, Duane Allman) as well. It was only in the second half of the 70's that Southern Rock as a style became the big thing we think it is. When bands like The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and Doc Holliday entered the scene, and it was quite massive for a moment. Then in the early 80's Southern Rock went almost extinct, some bands trying their hand at AOR and most failing miserably. In Europe Southern Rock was probably only just getting a following when it had all but disappeared. It remained quite popular in Germany and especially France. Which brings us back to Calibre 12. And as far as the music goes, that's solid Southern Rock in my book. This is their debut, and you can still tell they're fans first. The music is pretty much in the Molly Hatchet vein. Great slide guitar. But don't be expecting no Southern drawl here. Maybe a drawl Sudiste (pardon my French). But I reckon that's better than English with a French accent. It does not bother me at all, though I have no clue what they're singing about. You can find the lyrics on their homepage. I wonder what your opinion will be after hearing this. Is Southern Rock now a genre that could come from anywhere? Rock Sudiste!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grinderswitch - Unfinished Business (2004)

"Unfinished Business" was issued in 2004. But, as the title suggests, this was stuff that had been laying around for several years, it just never got to being released. The songs on this album were already written and recorded in 1977/1978, intended as a follow-up to the "Redwing" album. It's all good fun with lots of Soul and Blues added to their special brand of Southern Rock. And there be horns! Grinderswitch were one of the original Southern Rock bands from the early days. They never really resembled any other Southern Rock band. The music is a lot more homey than, say, The Allman brothers Band or Lynyrd Skynyrd. I guess Southern Rock started out a lot more versatile than it wound up being. This album features the song "Dr. Hector's Traveling Show", which was probably where Dru Lombar got the idea for Dr. Hector And The Groove Injectors. Great stuff for a swinging little party. That's what you get.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Outlaws - My Father's Place '86 (1986)

The Outlaws recorded live at My Father's Place in 1986 is a hot show alright. And a lot more interesting than most live shows I have seen circulating. This was the time when Henry Paul was back for the album "Soldiers Of Fortune", so this show has both the classic songs ("There Goes Another love Song", "Green Grass & High Tides", "Knoxville Girl" etc.) as well as the songs you never heard them play live again ("The Outlaw", "Cold Harbor", "One Last Ride" and a version of Henry's song "Feel The Heat"). But here it all works out very well. The band is playing as tight as ever, both Hughie and Henry are in excellent form vocally and the sound of this recording is splendid. And does anyone have any news on the current state of affairs concerning the release of "Once An Outlaw"? I'm not choosing sides for either Henry Paul or Chris Hicks, I think they're both great. And I'm only in it for the music. Henry Paul and company have recently released a CD under The Outlaws name called "Demos", which, I think, is pretty brilliant. You can listen to that while visiting The Outlaws website. As for now: Get this, you need it. You are the show!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ian Moore - Modernday Folklore (1995)

"Modernday Folklore" was Ian Moore's last album for the resurrected Capricorn label. It was also his last Southern Rock album. At least, that's from what I read, since I haven't actually heard anything from Ian's subsequent output. But I have listened to this album pretty often. And it still gets rotation from time to time. It's a bit of an odd record. I guess on this album he was already making the transition from Southern Blues Rock to the well crafted Pop(?) songs of his later work. But this is really good. As a matter of fact, this has his best song (imho), a tune called "Muddy Jesus". There are some songs which recall his Bluesier past, but the majority on this album is, I guess, Southern Rock with a twist. Sometimes reminiscent to Chris Whitley in atmosphere and a quite adventurous listening experience. All songs are very well written. It may not necessarily grab you by the throat at first listen, but give it a few spins and you will find the material definitely grows on you. And as always, great playing and more than pleasant vocals. No mindless Texas Boogie boredom here, just good stuff. Modernday folklore!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Lafauci - Lafauci (1978)

Oh yes, this is some fine music alright. Thanks to my French connection for this gem. It's a very rare piece of Southern Rock regalia. Only 1000 copies were pressed. The band was led by Sal Lafauci (vocals, drums & organ) and they hailed from Louisiana. Other members were Chip Weil (bass), Steve Dodds (guitars) and Keith Guidroz (guitar). Guests were Billy Stroud (synthesizer)and Sonny Wall (piano, organ, synthesizer, etc).
The first songs kicks of impressively, a song called "Flowing River", which could fool you to believe you got your hands on a Progressive Rock album instead. It's a little bit of everything which makes this album so interesting. It's mostly and most definitely Southern, though. And they do rock out. Other highlights are "Ride Chester", "Lovin' You Is Right" and "Mary, Mary" (some guitar stuff very reminiscent to early Hatchet). Boy, oh boy, are you boys and girls gonna love this one. I'll bet. Great playing and great songs. Pretty great, right?! Help Yourself.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Eat A Peach - Turbulence & Thunder (1999)

Eat A Peach was a Southern Rock band Yes, that's right. But don't let that hold you back checking this out. These guys pretty much hit the nail on the head with this, their debut album from 1999. Nothing fancy going on here, it's very much straight ahead Southern Rock for ya. But any Southern Rock fan should definitely give it a go. It's a bit on the heavy Blues Rock side of Southern. Plenty guitar, some tasty Hammond organ, gravelly vocals, some twin leads. Basically, it's got all you might look for in Southern Rock. It reminded me at times of Molly Hatchet playing The Allmans. This was requested, it's no longer for sale, here you have it. Hot Sauce!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Doc Holliday - Danger Zone (1986)

"Danger Zone" was released in 1986 on the small Metal Masters label (in the UK anyway), after the Doc Holliday adventures on A&M records ended with the rather disappointing Techno Rock album "Modern Medicine". I always had a soft spot for this album. Sure, it did not have the sound of a big budget album, but the mood was set just right. Back on the Southern Rock trail alright. And that was something pretty rare in the mid 80's, believe you me! It had some of their finest songs, like "Redneck Rock & Roll Band", where Bruce Brookshire did his roll call of Southern Rock heroes (like Charlie Daniels did on "The South's Gonna Do it" and Skynyrd on "When You Got Good Friends"). And some cool heavy rockers like "Danger Zone" and "Thunder & Lightning/Into The Night". This is pretty much Southern Rock as it should be. Just listen. Are you Ready to Burn?!