Tag Archives: Dan Baird

Under The Radar: Tommy Womack

It’s about this time every year that I post something about Tommy Womack, and damn it, I’m going to keep doing it every year until people wise up and recognize this great American treasure. Forgive me if you are already on board, but if you are, please link this to one friend tonight.

The review I’m reposting below will celebrate its twelfth birthday on Thursday, and you’ll see that even then I’m referring to “faithful Consumable readers” just like I occasionally now defer to “regular Prescriptioneers”. In other words, I’m a loyal drum beater if you have a drum worth beating. Tommy Womack did then, and still does.

So go listen to his new efforts with Will Kimbrough in Daddy, by all means. But don’t forget Tommy’s excellent solo albums and other projects. People with talent and a wicked sense of humor deserve our attention and support. In a perfect world, there would be a double bill of Tommy Womack and Todd Snider playing your town and mine.

Faithful Consumable readers will remember my “how the Hell did I miss this” review of Tommy Womack’s last record Positively Na Na; I was overjoyed to stumble across one of the most uncompromisingly original songwriters currently competing for our ears. Womack’s back with a new record, and I’m back to tell you to get your ass to the store now, because he’s at it again.

Who else could open a record by sandwiching a rollicking double-time swamp blues song between a snippet of psychotic poetry and a thirty-second faux-folk song called “Christian Rocker?” But when he gets down to business, it’s incredible songs like “The Urge To Call,” where his sharp storytelling is matched sonically by an infectious combination of organ and dobro. Or the searing slide guitar, sword fighting with Womack’s emotive vocal on “I Don’t Have A Gun” (“I’m so glad I don’t have a gun/on a night like this/I’d use one…”). In a better world, a song like “She Likes To Talk” would be a hit single. And give the man bonus points for covering a Kinks song, and “Berkeley Mews” at that.

Lyrics aside, Tommy Womack flat out rocks. “Telling You What You Want To Hear” builds from the ground up like the bastard son of “Honky Tonk Women” that it is (right down to the cowbell). The all-star stable of players is once again all over this record, featuring killer guitarists like George Bradfute and Dan Baird and especially fellow Bis-Quits axeman Will Kimbrough. Not that Womack is a slouch (his slide playing is incredible!), but Kimbrough plays some of the filthiest lead guitar solos I have ever heard, and his work on “Dreams And Golden Rivers” is top shelf stuff.

Womack’s way with words extends beyond songs. His novel about life in the rock and roll trenches (“Cheese Chronicles“) is an underground classic, and according to his website, he’s hard at work on the follow-up, “Jesus Has Left The Building.” Nashville has a rep for wearing down willing talent and molding it into cookie-cutter Hat Music, but Tommy Womack just continues to sit at the bar, too cool to even bother flipping the bird.

It’s time you pull up a stool and join his army.

Listen to clips here.

Tommy Womack website

Who's your Daddy? Will and Tommy are...

2 Comments

Filed under Music, Reviews

T.G.I.F. – Ten Roots Rockers

Last night I saw two great sets from the pride of Festus, Missouri – The Bottle Rockets. Great albums and an even better band live, and it’s nights like that which make me thankful that there are still some great bands making the rounds these days playing Great American Music.

Of course, radio isn’t exactly following suit…roots rock, Americana and good old country soul rock’n’roll doesn’t market to the tweens. That’s the target audience with the most disposable income, the highest sheep mentality and the most easily swayed loyalty. And since no one is trying to cultivate careers anymore, it’s all about the quick hit and the cash grab, because tomorrow is someone else’s marketing bonanza.

Well, there are great bands out there plugging in and rocking out, and despite the ambivalence of the media, they’ve managed to carve out a career and a loyal audience. It’s not likely that they’ll play the Enormodome anytime soon, but who wants to watch a band through binoculars, anyway? Give me the honest sweat and pulse of a great club show any day.

The Bottle Rockets are such a band – they play with passion and heart and write songs about real people and real lives. They’ll plug in and blast off just as hard for fifty people as they will for fifteen hundred or fifteen thousand. So in their honor, here are ten artists that your neighbor might not know the name of, but their mission was to carry the torch for Great American Rock’n’Roll.

All deserve to be household names, and in my world, they are.

01) The Bottle Rockets: “I’ll Be Comin’ Around

02) Jason and the Scorchers: “White Lies

03) Webb Wilder: “Tough It Out

04) The Del Lords: “Burning In The Flame Of Love

05) Terry Anderson: “You Know Me

06) Dan Baird: “I Love You Period

07) The Jayhawks: “Save It For a Rainy Day

08) Lucero: “She’s Just That Kinda Girl

09) Drive-By Truckers: “This Fucking Job

10) The Beat Farmers: “Hollywood Hills

Of course, it’s just ten songs, not the canon. From Credence to The Replacements, from Walk The West to The Bo Deans, from The Blasters to The Gaslight Anthem, there’s a wealth of timeless music beyond that radio dial. Enjoy these ten, and go find yourself some more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Reviews

Under The Radar: Sulo / Diamond Dogs

Diamond dogs

Up The Rock

Prescription readers know that I am a huge Faces fan, and I rue the day that the team of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood went their separate ways. Although each has stayed at the forefront of the music scene, I’m hard pressed to find work by either man that can stand alongside the output from their partnership. When The Faces went away, they left a hole in my rock’n’roll heart.

Many bands like the Quireboys and early Black Crowes did their best to fill the void, but each had their own path to pursue. But ten years ago, I accidentally stumbled across the Diamond Dogs, a killer rock band from Sweden, and that’s been the closest I’ve seen anyone come to capturing the music and the spirit of my barroom boys. Of course albums were hard to come by – even some I was able to grab have gone out of print – but thankfully some of the material is out there for grabs.

Here’s a review of That’s The Juice I’m On from 2003, back in their Feedback Boogie label days:

Diamond Dogs juice

The Faces will never reunite – hell, the box set has been dragging its ass for four years plus – but if you still miss the rhythm and booze swagger of Rod and Ronnie I have the band for you. Sweden, of all places, has spent the last few years exporting great bands that land here well under the radar. Diamond Dogs is the cream of the crop, slipping into the shoes of the masters and continuing to champion soulful, energetic, pint-in-the-air rock and roll.

Juice is the sixth, seventh or eight album depending whom you ask, and figuring out whether the current band has five, seven or nine members is also an exercise in futility. But just listen as “Passing Through My Heart” perfectly blends the best parts of “You Wear It Well” and “Ooh La La”. Smile when “Throw It All Away” and “Get The Monkey Off” make you run to the shelf to grab A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse.

Chris Robinson gave it a good shot with the Black Crowes, but this is the real deal, from Sulo’s whiskey voice down to Henrik Widen’s fat organ and rollicking piano homage to the great Ian McLagan. Juice is a collection of alternate versions and unreleased tracks from the past couple of years but stands up as an album, even featuring the requisite killer cover song (a smoldering version of “Pills”) the band is noted for. If you hear one record by the Dogs you’ll want them all, so you might as well start here.

They’ve made more great records since then, and while some of the musicians continued to perform with their other bands (Hellacopters, Dogs D’Amour, etc.) lead singer Sulo cut two excellent solo albums. Reminiscent of the glory days when Rod and The Faces each made a record a year, but without the drama or imbalance. Last year the Diamond Dogs played some tour dates with Jason and the Scorchers, Dan Baird and The Quireboys and released yet another album, and supposedly there’s a live one in the pipeline. 

And Sulo has been a busy guy as well. Besides the Diamond Dogs, the Bitter Twins and other one-off projects, he’s released two more albums! I’m in the process of getting copies and will have links to full reviews soon, but in the meantime, check out the links below and enjoy some of the best music not being played on the radio in America.

Sulo’s Hear Me Out on Amazon.

Sulo’s collaboration with Ernst Brunner.

Diamond Dogs on Smilodon Records

Diamond Dogs on MySpace

Sulo on MySpace

Bitter Twins on MySpace.

3 Comments

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music

Under The Radar: Teenage Frames

Rock out Knockout

Rock out Knockout

I first discovered this Chicago band during a late night trolling session on CDBaby (a highly recommended exercise to discover many bands flying under everybody’s radar). I was intrigued by the name-dropping of the Dolls, Stones and Stooges, and plunked my money down. Well, the comparisons were accurate – More Songs, Less Music was reminiscent of  Cheap Trick and Mott The Hoople strained through a  Ramones filter (albeit with traces of Beach Boys and bubblegum glam). Twelve years later, I’m still playing their discs.

Now listed on MySpace as being from Hollywood, a December 2008 post teased a new recording in progress. But their last blog entry says “permanent vacation”, which wither means (1) they want you to know they’re not coming back to Chicago, (2) they really like that Aerosmith album, or (3) they’re toast.

The Teenage Frames have released six CDs to date. Give them a try – most of their releases are EPs you can pick up for five bucks! Unlike so many bands who think they have to fill out every nanosecond of the CD with sound, these guys know enough to get it, hit hard and get out. Here’s a review of 1% Faster, their second release, that will give you a good snapshot of their sound.

If you like the Stooges and the New York Dolls as much as I do, then you’re going to have a big smile on your face when you hear these guys. Now don’t get me wrong – glass won’t shatter and I don’t see a high heel shoe anywhere – but vocalist Frankie Delmane was spawned from the same muck. And hell, with song titles like “Drug Power,” “Teenage Letdown” and “Back To The Motor City,” what do you expect? The Teenage Frames kick ass, pal! “I’m Going Home” has more swagger than Jagger, and if that ain’t Keef ripping those rhythm chords it’s Dan Baird fronting the Quireboys.

When they slow it down, it’s Johnny Thunders sipping margaritas (“Living It Up”), but when it cranks I hear echoes of The Ramones (“I Want To Go Out Tonight”), The Boys (“Just Can’t Seem To Take It”), The Black Crowes and The Sex Pistols. Once in a while, Delmane’s rasp slides off the chart, but so what? With three seventies-named cats like Eric Vegas (who co- writes everything with Delmane), Jim Holiday and Ted (Don’t Call Me Johnny) Cougar as the power trio, I don’t care. The last record is called 1% Faster. I think they underestimate themselves.

Teenage Frames website

Teenage Frames CDs on CDBaby

TF live, too wild for The Jenny Jones Show
teenage frames

1 Comment

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music

Under The Radar: The Yayhoos

Yep, despite their rock-solid pedigrees and irresistable nut-crunching rock’n’roll, we Yayhoos fans must admit that our heroes do, indeed, fly under the radar. Apparently we’re a cult, except without the sick twisted part (that’s for Terry to put in the lyrics when he sees fit…)

But dammit, we’re stubborn! So since Terry Anderson just announced a new album is on the way from his other band of gypsies, The Olympic Ass Kicking Team, I thought I’d use that flimsy excuse to wave my flags and banners for these Yayhoos again. And despite what my 2006 review (below, from the UK magazine Bucketful of Brains) said at the time, you can now find most solo and band Yayhoo albums here.

And don’t worry…you’ll be reading about the new OAKteam album here very soon.

 

All Dressed Up for the Love Train...

All Dressed Up for the Love Train...

The Yayhoos: Put the Hammer Down 

The “American Rockpile” strikes again with a solid follow-up to Fear Not the Obvious. And yes, astute fans of both, there were Dan Baird and Terry Anderson and Eric Ambel releases since then to keep us going just like Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds used to do. I wish there was an album a month from these guys, because the pure joy of making music together that bleeds from the speakers is so palpable it’s only exceeded by their collective musical talent.

If you’re familiar with the pedigree of Dan and Terry and Eric and ex-Satellite Keith Christopher, buying this immediately is a no-brainer. For those with more mainstream blood, mix the swagger of vintage Rolling Stones with the sloppy charm of The Replacements and the unbridled alcoholic cool of The Faces…with a little more twang, of course. Songs about getting sloppy, drunk and naked. Self-deprecating band namechecking song. Semi-pensive rock ballads and greasy guitar romps with hillbilly harmony. A love song called “Where’s Your Boyfriend At?” – now that’s a special Yayhoo kind of love. And for you jukebox jimmies, raucous covers of “Love Train” (a song they were covering live long before the Coors commercials, by the way) and the B-52’s “Roam”. The Yayhoos prove that having fun and making great music are not mutually exclusive efforts.

Tough to find, since it was recorded in Brooklyn and released on the small label named after Eric’s swank Alphabet City watering hole Lakeside Lounge. But the hunt brings a great reward. Go get it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Reviews

Who’s Your DADDY?

Not-so-sloppy seconds.

Not-so-sloppy seconds.

Why, DADDY is your daddy, of course. DADDY is fronted by Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack, and if neither of those names ring a bell for you, then it’s good that the new album won’t be out until Father’s Day 2009…because you have a lot to catch up on.

No really – go ahead, I’ll wait.

Yeah, they've been on a few records.

Yeah, they've been on a few records.

How about those audio resumes? Start saving those deposit bottles, because there’s a lot of great stuff there. You also might want to track down side projects like The Bis-Quits, whose one awesome album was released on John Prine’s Oh Boy label years ago. How can you not like a band that writes a track about a guy who plays a cello “like ringin’ a bell” and titles it “Yo Yo Ma”? (Trust me, it’s a great record but that one song is worth the price of the album).

You can’t mention either name without realizing the lineage with Steve Earle, Todd Snider, Jason and the Scorchers, Rodney Crowell, Dan Baird and dozens of other credible names that should have your radar sparking like a dropped muffler just by being in the same paragraph. Will and the Bushmen. Government Cheese. Really, do I have to keep pimping here? These are two bonafide A-list singer/songwriter/guitarists who adorn any worthy record collection, and they also happen to bring the best out in each other. So whether it’s redneck country, y’alternative rock, torch’n’twang, rockabilly, blues, gospel, roots rock or just taking the piss out of something with wit and passion…you’ve got the right guys on the job.

But as entertaining as those two could be as a duo, DADDY is a band. Backing up the troublemakers are Paul Griffith (one of Nashville’s most sought-after session drummers), Dave Jacques on bass (John Prine, Emmylou Harris) and John Deaderick (Dixie Chicks, Michael McDonald, Patty Griffin) on keys.  Those of you within distance of SXSW can get a nice preview next week, but Daddy will hit the road to promote the new album For A Second Time, set to drop on June 16th.  Why a second time? Because like many people, you probably missed the one-off At The Women’s Club, recorded live in 2005 at only their second gig. And unlike Crosby Stills and Nash, they were not scared shitless…they’re back four years later to save your ass again.

June isn’t that far away, but until then…enjoy some live DADDY here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews