Compiler Geoff Ginsberg of Real O Mind Records nails it in the opening words of the liner notes when he observes that rock and roll is music for old people, made by old people. Not only is no-one appearing on this collection of 20 songs aged under 40, some have offspring who have been on the planet for longer than three decades. The clattering of canes and rattling of Zimmer frames never sounded so good.
It would be a pity if this release only hit the spot with Died Pretty fans and underground rock geek/collector scum historians because it’s deserving of better than that. The End was the first substantive band for Died Pretty guitarist Brett Myers and a handful of these songs (“Just Skin”, “This Reason”, “Through My Heart” and “Lost”) were later recorded by the latter group.
Flamin' Groovy? The verdict is that it is indeed - and why wouldn’t it be? The singer for the most enduring (and some might say best) Flamin’ Groovies pop line-up re-surfaces with a solo album and ropes in Cyril Jordan, George Alexander, Mike Wilhelm - and even original line-up vocalist Roy Loney - from that same storied band.
Everybody else has their own garage punk blues duo so why not the Irish? The Bonnevilles (not to be confused with the Australian band of similar moniker) keep it stripped-back, fuzzy and simple to wipe the floor with most of the competition. Punk blues doesn’t get much better than this.
You wouldn’t know it from the cover but “Rat On!” (1971) is a more polished production effort than Swamp Dogg’s debut from a year earlier, “Total Destruction To Your Mind”. Recorded at legendary studio Muscle Shoals, that’s where the conformity ends. “Rat On!” finds Swamp right in the pocket with a muscular rhythm section and a subversive feel.
There’s probably a complicated and entertaining backstory to the career re-birth of Jerry Williams Jr, prolific soul music producer and player also known as Swamp Dogg, but the bare bones are fairly evident. In his seventh decade and after years of relative obscurity, this former flatmate of Jerry Wexler and co-writer with Gary “U.S.” Bonds has hooked up with Alive Natural Sound and opened a floodgate of re-issues - of his own work and artists he’s produced or managed - and the results are pretty cool.
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