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April 20, 2024

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Sucking In The '70s (Small Stone Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

That would be Five Horse Johnson who gets first track honors and somehow pulls off an unlikely combination of mud flaps, Mississippi queen, motor oil and, well, Mountain-- and Leslie West and Janis Joplin never sounded so good together on "Never In My Life" and, no shit! "Sucking In The '70s," or maybe "Sucking The '70s" for those worried it might otherwise sound too much like some late night poor man's collection narrated by what's left of the Little River Band, and for only half your paycheck, relive-- So clearing things up, in a matter of speaking since the smoke billows out the exhaust from note one and only gets worse, here's a two disc collection of diesel in the dust, dust in the face, Rock n' roll damnation by your favorite dope dealin, daisy skippin' time trippin', gear jammer bands stuck in second and cruising through the golden age of bell bottoms, beards, and Barney Miller when the music did the talkin' and bands were bands and not fashion plates for the latest little girl whimsies-- Donny, Leif, and Keith notwithstanding, fuck no, these bands and those they pay homage were not of the stuff of Seventeen and Teen Queen, no sir, we're talking real meat and potatoes, ugly faced and ultra heavy and patterned after the greats of the past where the likes of Mick and Keith, and Plant and Page and Ozzy and Iggy and cop show drama ruled the audio realm. STS features 35 of yer retro-Rockin' faves spanning six countries and four continents(!) doing their takes of sunbelt state Classic Rock tunes of the past -- let's face it, if you're going to sound like 'em already, may as well throw a few extra bucks in the pockets till the next big Behind The Music casualty's lucky enough to resurface! Anyone who's been familiar with the current crop of Stoner, Garage, and, yeah, Doom labels knows most of these guys and many of 'em do a nice job of taking the long road here and going for the less obvious cover track rather than the quick commercial jab -- so if you're expecting "Born To Be Wild," "Love Hurts," and that kinda age old done to death banter, piss off, and buy the originals! Here we're getting the lethal dose from bands like Hangnail covering Zep's "Bron-Yr-Stomp" and probably for the first time ever it was conceived; "TV Eye," well that's been done before but hey, it's The Stooges and the guys in The Glasspack do a pretty faithful job-- that's another aspect to consider, the Seventies' had some great Rock bands doing some pretty weird shit, so kudos for letting the bands indulge in something like "Can't You See" or some Joe Walsh crap, it fits, but damn hard to swallow sometimes when we're blasted by someone called The Last Vegas doing The Motor City Madman's "Free For All" or Suplecs crushing Rush's classic "Working Man" with a full two minute desert highway freewheeling joy ride before pinning the throttle for sudden burst at trail's end! Spirit Caravan, classic Stoner god's come through with their apparent last recorded effort and of course have to give the nod to the Sabs with "Wicked World," another of those, huh(!?) tracks. Puny Human punks up the ol' CCR stomper "Travellin' Band, while Raging Slab bows down to Grand Funk's usual suspect; So I guess the trick here is to spot the groups that don't sound like the original, then you got a real head turner, eh! Clutch's version of Tull's "Cross Eyed Mary," okay, it's timeless, and Clutch is an acquired taste, but I'll give it to 'em here, and really laying heavy on the Ozzy-- for a second I thought we had a Sheavy sighting! And speaking of which, nope, nowhere to be found. The underrated Roadsaw's version of "Vehicle," the original of which is like this classic Seventies' pimp flick soundtrack tune with Hard Rock guitar and damned if I know who it was but it's one of those that always comes up and you swear you know it, but Roadsaw just Rocks the hell out of it. Preconceived also-ran, little known nobody's that really reddened the eyes here include, the UK's, The Heads, Lamont, doing an old, old, old ZZ Top tune, Warped's version of AC/DC's "Dog Eat Dog" of all things, then again it's AC/DC-- and Novadriver (yeah, they got a name, but--) doing a smokin' cover of T-Rex's "20th Century Boy" and Porn, formerly known as "Men Of--" playin' it the only way they know how, low, lower and lookout poor Neil Young buried beneath twenty feet of fucking rubble for the seven minute "Out On The Weekend." This comp leaves no stone unturned, no herb unsmoked, and no fuel unburned, get it? It's Hard Rock by horribly tone deaf musicians who long since sold their soul and exhumed the burnt bodies of leftover cash outs from gasoline alley and in most cases place the original between foot and pedal and crush the life out of 'em. At the least you'll get a headache that won't go away for a while but you'll more likely leave with a great new perspective on the some of the previously watered down and ignored bottom barrel tracks from the then "AOR" chunk Rock bands of a decade that just won't die.
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