Lucky Hand - Chicken Snake (Beast Records)
You 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.