Saturday, June 9, 2018

TDATS 139: Busted In Georgia [Southern Rock #2]


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Six years and seventy four volumes ago I made an attempt at a southern rock special (Vol 65). While some of the names there were bona fide southern bands, some were not, and were included because their sound fitted in well. On this one I spent a long time looking for as many southern bands as I could, almost all of them are genuine 'southern rock' bands.

A few are from nearby places like Kentucky that I think still have a place here, although people will always argue about what true southern rock is. Is it a geographical thing, or is it an elite of deep south outlaws that sound like Skynyrd or the Allmans? Well, I just see it as amazing rock'n roll from and around the south & southeast corner of the US, with an honesty and feel of its own, and all these bands have it.

One or two of these artists are from label bands, the rest are private press LPs or demos, rare records that command a pretty penny but have been ripped and shared by generous people for all to hear. Two such bloggers I thank for this are Skydog's Elysium and ZosoPat for the southern rock they have shared. Wits End is ripped by myself from the original pressing, and is the only record here I own an original copy of.

This collection is a roaring set of brilliant life-affirming rock that is heavy in places, joyful and carefree in others, and packed with blazing soulful guitars, everything that's great about southern rock...

TRACKS
01. Latter Rain - Freedom (intro) (1976)
       from LP 'Latter Rain'
02. Too Smooth - Crippled Duck (1976)
       from LP 'Too Smooth'
03. Tennessee River Crooks - White Lightning (1976)
       from LP 'Tennessee River Crooks'
04. Southern Creed - Keep On Rockin' (1977)
       from LP 'Will The Real "Creed" Stand Up'
05. Beaverteeth - Dixie Fried (1977)
       from LP 'Beaverteeth'
06. Thunderhead - Busted In Georgia (1975)
       from LP 'Thunderhead '75'
07. Potliquor - Levee Blues (1970)
       from LP 'Levee Blues'
08. Wits End - Tribute (1979)
       from LP 'Rock And By God Roll'
09. Slyder - Move Along (1978)
       from LP 'Slyder'
10. South Paw - Bad Man (1980)
       from LP 'South Paw'
11. Ambrose - Breakout (1978)
       from LP 'Bust Your Nose'
12. Crossroads - Many Times (1979)
       from LP 'Southern Strutter'
13. Tempest - Long Way From Home (1979)
       from LP 'Tempest'
14. Kill Devil - Bye Bye Boogie (1977)
       from LP 'Kill Devil'
15. Raisin' Kane - I Don't Want To Take It (1978)
       from LP 'It's About Time'
16. Latter Rain - Freedom (reprise) (1976)
       from LP 'Latter Rain'

Latter Rain open here, with a mostly instrumental track that book-ends the volume. They were a christian band from Kentucky and play really well with some nimble guitar on the 2-3 heavier tracks of the self-titled LP they made in 1976.

Too Smooth
Too Smooth are next up. 'Crippled Duck' displays their fantastic guitar skills. They are from Austin TX and played between '73 - '81, with an active facebook page (link) showing that some reunion shows have happened since. A demo of theirs had a (presumably unauthorised) s/t release in 1976 by Tiger Lily, one of the most infamous tax-scam record labels. The Acid Archives [2nd ed.] states that this is one of the most sought-after Tiger Lily LPs and there were only two known copies at the time of publication.

It appears they never had an official album release, although the 2011 comps 'Live & Kickin' (link) and 'Still' (link) were officially released in time for a reunion. By the look of some of their posters, they must have been a big draw in Texas, headlining shows supported by other notable Texas names like Bubble Puppy, Sirius [ex-Bubble Puppy] and Shotgun [pre-Vizion] among others!

I found an interview with Tennessee River Crooks (link), which states that although there are two albums floating around, they are the same record, the latter one being a reprint of the self-titled with a new title, 'To A Brother', in tribute to founding member Ronny Waters soon after his death. 1000 of each were printed by a local studio / label called Sound Farm. The track I used here comes with this story from Jimmy Stewart (bass) and Ricky Stewart (drums): They remember cutting 'White Lightning' on a Friday night as a thunderstorm was approaching and they were trying to get the song cut before the storm hit.

Southern Creed (original name) are from Memphis, and were signed by Elektra/Asylum who got them on tours with Nugent, The Cars and Molly Hatchet. The track I used here is some electrifying rock n roll that wouldn't sound out of place on an AC/DC record. The band has voiced some dissatisfaction about their 1977 LP, saying that the thin production didn't convey the power of their true sound. Therefore, I have included a track from their demo here, and it does indeed sound better than the official LP! The demo was privately released on CD in recent years, which states that the original tapes were found and restored by Bob Bradley & Jeff Sawyer.

Creed released an EP in 1983 which went in a more AOR direction, but you'll find them on full power on the demo! A great band indeed, who still play occasional reunions (link).

Albany, Georgia's Beaverteeth were a mostly laid-back group that made two records on RCA Victor in the late seventies. 'Dixie Fried' is from their self-titled debut and is a funky little number with that every-day-life southern humour in some amusing lyrics.

Thunderhead with Johnny Winter
Following Beaverteeth is New Orleans' Thunderhead, another band that suffered the tax-scam label treatment, and some label indifference too unfortunately. Their first album sessions were produced by Johnny Winter, but reportedly ABC Records didn't like them so the band had to re-record with a new producer, with results that the band were not so happy with. The resulting self-titled record was released but then quickly sank with little further label support. A couple of years later another notorious tax-scam label, Guinness Records, released an LP combining some of the original sessions with later recordings, which some people say is a better listen as it has at least some of those early recordings.

The band rectified it all in 2010 with their own remasters of the first recordings, on the 'Thunderhead 75' CD, which 'Busted In Georgia' is taken from. They sure sound good and this band could have been up there with Blackfoot et al in hard southern rock. Read some more about it here.

Next up is Baton Rouge's Potliquor, who will  be known to frequenters of obscure rock blogs where their second album often appears. The title track of that LP is by far my favourite song from them, it has that slow grinding heaviness which is metered-out in that great, long riff.

Wits End from Garland, Texas are here with an absolute barnstormer of a track in 'Tribute'.  Mike Franklin (drums), Karl Lois (lead guitar, voc), Harvey Martin (bass, voc) and Michael 'Bitch' McSpadden (guitar, voc) make up the band and they put together a strong album recorded in Dallas called 'Rock and By God Roll'. The album has a lot of rocking tracks, and aside from a few ballad-like ones which were not so much their forte, they all have funky, tight and fast guitar with shared vocal duties. 'Tribute' is the stand-out which distils all their skills into four minutes of pure rock bliss. They were apparently a christian band but the lyrics don't particularly show it.

Slyder
Track 9 is a departure from the rest, a Floridian band with some power pop sensibilities but also plenty of that good time southern rock feeling. The band features Billy Livesay (link), who in recent years has played with Slow Ride, the band of founding Foghat member Tony Stevens. Slyder throws in some Thin Lizzy, and even some new wave on a couple of other tracks and this is a great record.

Slyder first gained popularity as a covers band, with two adept slide guitarists they added a southern twist to their rock'n roll covers. They made this album in 1978, which is mainly made up of original material but has a few covers, which no doubt went down very well at packed-out shows in the Hialeah and Lauderdale clubs such as "The Other Place", at Hialeah. Slyder also toured nationally with the likes of Mother's Finest, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Savoy Brown and The Fixx.

I contacted Billy Livesay briefly for more information on Slyder and he told me that the same band under a different name released another album in 1988, as The Big Bang. Album name: 'Broken Dreams' (link).

Slyder (1984) @ Sunrise Musical Theater Ft. Lauderdale, FL


South Paw (rear)
South Paw's 1980 debut was recorded in Texas and released on a Louisiana label which appears be the band's own label, so I can only guess they are from Louisiana.

Their debut is mainly a boogie rock outing with the heavy stand-out track being 'Bad Man', which stomps along and tells of a Bad Man gun for hire. The band was Robert Tubbs (guitars, voc), Jim Williams (guitars, voc), Gary Moore (bass) and Greg Craig (drums). There's a 1985 LP mentioned on Discogs too, which I have not heard.


Ambrose

According to the CD Baby page where you can download their LP (link), Ambrose were from Cookeville Tennessee and recorded 'Bust Your Nose' in 1978. The album is a straight-forward collection of hard rock and boogie, some of it is quite amateurish in composition but there's plenty of variety between tracks, and some work great, like the fuzzy-riffed 'Breakout' included here.

You can see more pictures etc at this Ambrose facebook page (link)

Crossroads was an Arkansas band with one of the most obviously Lynyrd Skynyrd-influenced sounds in this comp, the guitar harmonies and riffs are mostly good, and the production is impressive for a private press LP.

Tempest 2nd LP with
Barbara Pennington
Nearing the end now and moving on to Tempest from Texas. This 1979 debut album is a genuinely mixed bag with a couple of heavy hitters, one of which is here. It's hard to recommend as a whole due to its inconsistency, but amateurish song compositions are compensated for in some way by good individual performances and the band sounds best when they get down to dirty and direct riffing. They made another LP in 1982 as 'Barbara Pennington & Tempest' which may have improved on things but I have been unable to find that so far.


Kill Devil
Kill Devil provide track 14, a band that I cannot find much info for. The album lists members Stuart McArthur (vocals, keys, guitar, harmonica), Denis Desloge (guitars), Rod Cannon (drums), Jim Stafford (bass), Rob Whyte (vocals, guitars) and Ray Richardson (vocals, guitars). Their contact address is in Merrifield Virginia. The album is another laid back affair with some great guitars that crank it up on a couple of tracks.

Raisin' Kane
Closing on a high is a track from Raisin' Kane's LP.  'It's About Time' was recorded in Tennessee and is a solid set of tight, concise songs that zip along with a minimum of self indulgence and a maximum of rocking-out. Another gem of a private press southern album.

That's it for this one, I hope you enjoyed this volume and if anyone has any info on the more obscure bands I could update here please let me know




Related listening:
The Day After The Sabbath 91: Forced Landing [Heavy AOR & pomp special]
The Day After The Sabbath 126: Into The Pit [US Metal 1976 - 79]
The Day After The Sabbath 128: Birmingham, Alabama special


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