chicken snake - The I-94 Bar

Lucky Hand - Chicken Snake (Beast Records)

lucky-handYou probably know that we like our blues all smudged and dirty and it don't come much filthier than Chicken Snake. Hailing from the Manhattan Delta and home to Jerry Teel (Honeymoon Killers, Boss Hog, The Chrome Cranks, Knoxville Girls, Little Porkchop, Jerry Teel & The Big City Stompers ) and his songwriting partner/ wife Pauline Owens-Teel, they've been messin' with heads since 2009.

"Lucky Hand" is the debut album and it's said to have sprung from the Teels' loins after an extended stay in N'Orleans. Swamp rock is a term that's over used to the point of abuse but it's almost adequate to describe what Chicken Snake plays. That said, they haven't abandoned the grim back blocks of New York City (what's left of 'em) - the extended "Trouble In Your Mind" is more "Sister Ray" than "Dust My Broom" with waves of squawling guitar, a grinding rythm and sheets of feedback.

Side one of the LP was recorded at Ocropolis Studio in Brooklyn and has a dense and very live feel. Side two sounds cleaner and more dry. Pick what you prefer, they're both great. Side two's lead track, "Coat Tail Blues", is country-rock with a keen guitar edge, while "Moonshine Blues" is a shuffling duet with Jerry Teel's wheezy harmonica fitting just right.

There's more to Chicken Snake than Mr and Mrs Teel, however, and the band comes into its own on "Hand Me Down Some Snake Skin Shoes", locking in like Dylan's ensemble on "Highway 61 Revisited". This is good juju. How can you go past a swamp blues band with a guitarist called Josh Lee Hooker? Guest Jack Martin adds switchblade slide on half a dozen tracks and ex Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert plays on three.

Not a lot more to say except that it's on vinyl on French label Beast Records and there's a newie called "Trouble On My Doorstep"coming down the turnpike. Oh, and you should own a copy.It's procurable through any good European online shop or directly from the label.

rollingrollingrollingrolling

Beast Records

 

 

 

Mystery Train – Chickenstones (Crankinhaus Records)

mystery trainThis is one angry sounding record. Its 11 songs seethe and burn with fuzzed-up, roaring guitars and are propelled by an engine room whose controls are set for the carpark just outside the Gates of Hell.  

That’s a place with which Chickenstones main man Andy “Doc” Temple Ellard has become familiar over the last 18 months. In early 2018, he and the band were riding high on the back of a new album, “Johnny Streetlight”, and preparing for a tour of Europe when Doc got a tap on the shoulder from some fucker called Cancer.

Now, that prick comes in many guises and the kind that came cold-calling was especially nasty and persistent. Doc is a Registered Nurse so he had an understanding of what would be involved, but all the forewarning in the world doesn’t make the fight physically easier. Many rounds of treatment later, Doc’s emerged at the other end - with shorter hair and a deeper suntan - and he’s still looking over his shoulder.