Thursday, March 12, 2009

Charlie Pickett - Bar Band Americanus (Bloodshot, 2008)

Pickett's band is touted by Peter Buck of R.E.M. as one of the great unknown rock 'n' roll bands on the 1980's. I read about this disc in David Fricke's column in Rolling Stone magazine which is dedicated to albums that are a little under the radar and deserve wider recognition. Pickett played straight ahead rock 'n' roll tinged with punk, country and blues and steeped in the mythology of the south like another underground band of the same ilk, The Gun Club. Drugs, sex and the hardscrabble life of the working man are ever present in Pickett's music, like the blistering "Get Off On Your Porch" with its explicit drug references and blasting punk beat, and "Liked It A Lot" where Pickett sings in an emotionless monotone about the dark breakup of a relationship as he does in "If This Is Love, Can I Have My Money Back." The band were also expert interpreters of songs, like the two excellent covers of one of their great inspirations, The Flamin' Groovies, covering "Slow Death" and including a live version of "Shake Some Action." There's also a very nice version of Son House's "Death Letter" inspired by The Gun Club's raucous version and laying the groundwork for the garage-blues version that The White Stripes would feature later on. Fans of no frills rock 'n' roll will enjoy this disc quite a bit, it's well played high energy music with few pretenses and a lot of soul.
Bar Band Americanus -

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