Under The Radar: The Ditchdiggers

Another treasure unearthed ten years ago during another late-night “sounds like” tangent. This time I was trying to find bands who would mix up a little country and rockabilly with a punk edge and sense of humor. And with pun fully intended…bingo! From a June 2000 column…

Have to admit that the name Ditchdiggers attracted me immediately, plus record titles like Cow Patty Bingo and Light And Salvation always get my attention, too. This is absolute kick-ass yee-hah music that lives down the block from the Beat Farmers and Jason And The Scorchers.

Bingo is a little more countrified, with guest Debbie Gitlins’ fiddle lighting up tracks like “Grandpa” and the band amping up the Hank Williams classic “You Win Again” (they perform a similar amphetamine cover of “Amazing Grace” on Salvation). “Belle Air” rocks like an old Outlaws record, if the Outlaws were cool and sang about cows instead of green grass and high tides forever (which, of course, was a cap tip to the Stones, but I digress.). “I Don’t Want To Know” is a killer track, and “The Bottle” satisfies my craving for a BBB (Bad Behavior Ballad) on every record with a twang.

“Daddy Made A Farmer”, from Salvation, was the track I first heard; I loved it because it truly is the perfect Green Acres theme song (“Daddy made a farmer/out of that city girl“). This more recent record is fuller sounding and has great guitar playing that will melt the dance floor. Favorites include motor-biking psychobilly like “Big Bad Baby”, the Stonesy “One More Town” and the bent note country blues of “Backyard Girl”.

How can you not like a band that has songs like “Mudflap Cutie” and “Flatbed Love”? This ain’t yo’ mamma’s hoedown – The Ditchdiggers put the “punk” back in “cowpunk.

Chris Gray, Vocals
Lars Nagel, Rhythm Guitar
Bryan Stuart, Lead Guitar
John Paul Stout, Bass
Mack Blauvelt, Drums

Never got their third album, but go to their MySpace site for a surprise.

Listen to Cow Patty Bingo songs on CD BABY

Listen to Light and Salvation songs on CD BABY

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