Been on a Humble Pie trip for a bit around the I-94 Bar and it struck me that the less pastoral and more excessive they became, the better those guys got. This Mississippi-via-Memphis trio Dirty Streets is coming from the same place and despite their album's misnomer of a title (there's no sign of rolling fields and English countryside here) they purvey a fine line in swaggering rock.
If one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.
You wouldn’t know it from the cover but “Rat On!” (1971) is a more polished production effort than Swamp Dogg’s debut from a year earlier, “Total Destruction To Your Mind”. Recorded at legendary studio Muscle Shoals, that’s where the conformity ends. “Rat On!” finds Swamp right in the pocket with a muscular rhythm section and a subversive feel.
There’s probably a complicated and entertaining backstory to the career re-birth of Jerry Williams Jr, prolific soul music producer and player also known as Swamp Dogg, but the bare bones are fairly evident. In his seventh decade and after years of relative obscurity, this former flatmate of Jerry Wexler and co-writer with Gary “U.S.” Bonds has hooked up with Alive Natural Sound and opened a floodgate of re-issues - of his own work and artists he’s produced or managed - and the results are pretty cool.
Singers who even vaguely sound like Robert Plant shit me to tears but a large length of slack can be cut for The Bloody Hollies. A swag of catchy, brittle-edged songs, aggressive, the-blues-do-the-pogo playing and a large serving of irreverence get these Greater New Yorkers (now San Diegans) over the line.
You think you know me? I pick up the CD. Dumb band name. Dumb pun band name. Is there anything worse? God, I hope they are not whacky – or worse; zany. Pun band names often lead to zany. The scourge of Rock and Roll. I could always save the next 40 minutes of my life and just throw the thing away unplayed. The Barman said I could do that. Let me take a closer look.