rankoutsiders - The I-94 Bar
Down on 7th Avenue b/w I will Give up – Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders (Dangerhouse/Heavy Medication)
Some people use “bar band” as an insult when it’s a badge of honour. There is no more exacting proving ground. Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders are the best bar band in the world and here’s the proof.
“Down On 7th Avenue” was written the night before Los Angeles’ finest went into the studio and it’s delivered as only a band that knows itself inside out can. A scorching rocker propelled by a tight-as-a-fish’s-arse engine room, crunching guitars and Todd’s impassioned vocal, it jumps off the turntable. The reprise is the sting in the tail.
B side “I Will Give Up” is more mellow, a ‘50s rocker with some tasteful Duane Eddie licks and tinkling piano that’s reflective of the band’s rootsy ethos.
Buy or die. There's no excuse for not owning this.
You Might Be Through With The Past, But The Past Ain’t Through With You b/w Ruby Baby – Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders (Heavy Medication)
Ex-Lazy Cowgirlsleader Pat Todd makes records that his contemporaries wish they could. If you ever see an album by Todd and his band The Rankoutsidersin the wild, just grab it. Get your hands on this non-album track 45 on Polish label Heavy Medicationas well.
“You Might Be Through With The Past…” is a prime slice of Americana-via-Chicago-blues goodness with blazing blues harp, bristling guitars, a willing engine room and the knowing vocal of Mr Todd dishing it all up with a side of punk rock attittude. It’s the same crew that brought you “…there’s pretty things in Palookaville…” (on Hound Gawd! Records), one of the best records of 2021 bar none.
Flip it and you get a good-time take on the Leiber and Stoller song “Ruby Baby”, a standard that’s been done to death by evertone from The Beach Boys to Dion. In the hands of Todd and Co, it’s spraypainted with a liberal coat of rough ‘n’ roll charm to sound damned near brand new. Raucous and righteous! Don't walk, run, the purchase link is below.
Michael Passman photo.
Pat Todd is one of the greats of American music in recent times. I say that not just because he has one hell of a set of pipes on him, and is an incredible songwriter, but because he’s also combined elements of garage, punk and country all into one mix. I can’t think of anyone that has done that as long as he has, or has done it so well.
Todd makes music that I find hard to believe anyone could dislike. He’s one of the great American songwriters. Todd formed his latest outfit The Rankoutsiders in the mid-2000s and they pick up where his legendary group the Lazy Cowgirls left off. Their latest release “…….there’s pretty things in Palookaville”is up there with his best work, but every LP he does is brilliant and it’s hard to pick a standout “classic”.Pat spoke to me from his Los Angeles homebase via Zoom, where Rankoutsiders guitarist Nick Alexandergreets me before Pat comes on.
Americana is a term that excuses all sorts of sins. It’s so sweeping as to be meaningless - and it’s been homogenised to the point of dross - so let’s not speak of it again.
Some folks call Pat Todd “Americana” and it doesn’t remotely cover what he and his Los Angeles-based Rankoutsiders play. They’ve been tagged “Mellencamp with the Les Paul turned right up” by one reviewer, which is a bona fide compliment if you ignore the stuff that charted in Australia…
So, the fifth Rankoutsiders album, “The Past Came Callin’”, is rootsy and muscular rock and roll, an amalgam of rock, country, blues and everything in-between, and a contender for their best yet.
What makes the 14 tracks on “The Past Came Callin’” stand out? The songwriting, for one. Pat Todd doesn’t do mawkish sentimentality and writes from the heart. These are a mix of old and new songs, stories about relationships and crimes - which we all know are sometimes one and the same thing.
The surging, urgent guitars of Nick Alexander and Kevin Keller are another distinctive plus. Like Thunders with a clear head or Keef with a new-found dose of inspiration and less noodling, these guys make you take notice of every lick and steamrolling riff.