Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Young James Long (Southern Records 2006)

I don't know if you've ever had the misfortune of laying on the ground in front of some shitty roadhouse while the bouncer is kicking your teeth down your throat. I never have, thank God, but I'm certain Young James Long is the band that you would likely hear emanating from said roadhouse as they tore up the stage while you were getting your ass kicked.

This is blooze rock distilled down to its essence - short, aggressive blasts of angst that are over before you get a sense of what's really going on. The brevity of the songs (the longest is two minutes and four seconds) works in their favor, and all of them launch in with a effective groove that carry the song musically. PW Long's howled, slurred, and mumbled vocals don't give you much of an idea of what the songs are about, but they definitely give you the feeling that it's some creepy, ominous, sexually charged (not in a good way) shit that you're probably better off not knowing.

A very important component of rock 'n' roll, at least for me, has been its ability to scare the shit out of parents. Elvis did it. The Beatles did it. Jim Morrison did it. All the punk bands did it. These days parents are offended by idiots like Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor because of the staged and scripted crap they spew, but they know it's ultimately harmless. Young James Long is not harmless. Young James Long might stop your father's heart. Young James Long is like your mother walking in on you while you're masturbating. My dad's reaction when I played him The Butthole Surfers way back in 1987 was disgust, not fear. Young James Long is pissed. They sound pissed and scary. What are they so pissed about? Who knows? It might be you. That's scary.

This is down and dirty blues rock that would have fit right in at the ramshackle roadhouse where Robert Johnson got himself poisoned. Nobody would have cared that it was three white guys playing it. This record shoves everything Jon Spencer did right back up his ass. Pussy Galore could share a stage with them, but they'd end up mopping the floor - at the wrong end of the mop.

PW Long played guitar and fronted Mule and PW Long's Reelfoot, and put out a couple of solo records (the newest is "God Bless the Drunkard's Dog", available only on vinyl - it's worth buying a turntable to listen to). All his stuff kicks ass, be it misanthropic blues rumblers, introspective acoustic offerings, or something in between.

Kirkland James played slide guitar for Kansas City blooze rockers Tenderloin, no slouches in their own right. I don't know if their stuff is still available, but if it is go get it.

Taylor Young plays for both Young Heart Attack and Polyphonic Spree. I hate both bands, but his drum work on this is more than adequate to keep the adrenaline fueled bile pumping right along.

There is nary a bass guitar on this record, but don't worry. The bottom will still shake the glass out of your window panes. How? That's just how mean these guys are.

Five songs. Seven minutes thirty two seconds. That's a pretty quick ass-kicking, but it'll leave you in traction for a while. Then you'll listen to it again.

Rating: 4 out of 4

1 comment:

MiseryCreek said...

Turns out you can pick up two of Tenderloin's CDs on Amazon.com, used, for 0.01$ (yes, that's one cent) plus shipping and handling. Don't let the super bargain bin price fool ya - it'll be the best penny you ever spend.