C&W Punk


New at Reason: Loretta Lynn gets Jesse Walker slamdancing.

NEXT: Thugees, Thugettes

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Thanks Jesse,
    I`ve got to get that CD.

  2. Alright Jesse, I’m buying this CD. If I don’t like it, I’m canceling my Reason subsciption. 🙂

  3. Little Red Shoes really is an interesting song. Word around the campfire has it that she didn’t know she was being recorded when she “sang” it; she’s really just telling a story about what happened to her when she was a little girl. Music was supposedly added as an afterthought.

    Original Punk analogy really works too. It didn’t seem to take long for the rock-a-billy roots of Punk to get drowned out by reggae and, later, metal influences. Hoppin’ recording. And speaking of Punk, is Jack White giving a rock and roll a much needed kick in the ass or what?

  4. Jesse didn’t mention that Loretta turned 70 last month.

    You go, girl!!!

  5. When did punk’s rockabilly roots get drowned out? Was it in ’76 when the Sex Pistols did their Velvet Underground/Modern Lovers drone thing? In ’75 when the Ramones debuted with a Philly R+B bent? In 1968 when the Stooges and MC5 went the metal route? In 1965 when the Kinks started to go music-hall?

    Oh, you must mean the Clash.

  6. Van Lear Rose is not just the best album of the year. It is the best album either Loretta Lynn or Jack White has ever been associated with. Better than White Blood Cells, better than any of Loretta’s late 60s/early 70s album.

    And like Al Green, her voice continues to be a gift almost great enough to convince me there is a god.

    If you truly don’t like traditional (but incredibly fresh) country music, stay away. Everyone else should get this quick.

  7. Got it off iTunes…it does sound pretty good. Not like anything else, right off the top of my head.

  8. I was introduced to punk in the early eighties. Very little from Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, The Germs, Fear, The SubHumanz, GBH, Broken Bones, DRI, Conflict, Lynch Mob, The Adicts, Chaos UK, Suicidal Tendencies, DK, Bad Religion, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, Agression, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, The Blitz, let’s never forget The Exploited, or even The Business sound much like Rock-a-Billy. At all.

    But, you’re right, there always were, some, typicaly earlier, bands who had more of a Rock-a-Billy sound. Some of the Misfits early songs, take Attitude for instance, were pure Rock-A-Billy, and one of my favorite all time favorite albums is The Fire of Love by The Gun Club–God I love that album. X was always there. DeCry did a rightous cover of my childhood anthem “Sonic Reducer” originally by The Dead Boys. (Now there’s a great band from yesteryear.) And when I was still a young pup, before Mike Ness went to Jail, Social Distortion was played some great shows and made a couple of good records.

    But I stand by my original statement. The Rock-a-Billy influence in punk rock done got run over and all but died.

  9. I’m with s.m. on the rock-a-billy/punk thing. I don’t hear or see much rock-a-billy in the direct punk precursors (vu/stooges/mc5/modern lovers/dolls/etc.) or the first wavers (pere ubu/ramones/patti/hell/pistols/clash/etc.).

    Strummer carried a bit of rock-a-billy over from the 101ers, but the Clash dabbled in everything from the beginning, especially reggae. The Cramps are about the only first wave punk-a-billy band I can think of.

    The Slash/LA crowd — X, Gun Club, Blasters — certainly added some rock-a-billy into the mix, but they were all part of the second wave. At no point that I remember was there a lot of rock-a-billy that was pushed out.

  10. If I was going to agree with Ken Schultz, I’d cite Tuff Darts with Robert Gordon taking it even further when he went solo. But I’d say that was more the exception than the rule.

  11. On the other hand, some of those rockabilly cats were sort of proto-punk. Hasil Adkins definitely fits the bill.

    But of the early punk bands proper, only the Clash and the Cramps jump to mind as having a big rockabilly influence. There’s probably others (hey, I’ve never heard of Tuff Darts!), but I think Shill is right — the rockabilly strain doesn’t really come in until the X/Blasters L.A. scene, the rise of cowpunk, and a few uncategorizable ’80s bands like Shockabilly.

  12. Robert Gordon/Tuff Darts! Totally forgot about them. He is the quintessential rock-a-billy punk guy. Gordon was a DC guy, if I remember correctly. Session guitarist Chris Spedding also seemed to be involved in a lot punk/rock-a-billy projects in the day, too.

    There were others floating around. I once saw NY neo-rock-a-billy group Buzz and the Flyers open for the English Beat at the Ontario Theater in DC in 81. The Beat were incredible that night.

    Also, I forgot to mention the Alley Cats in the LA scene wrap-up.

    Country became cooler for hipsters as the 80s progressed, and bands that had only flirted with it in the early 80s — Social D, Replacements, Meat Puppets, X, Dils/Rank & File/True Believers — became a lot more comfortable adopting it as a legit sound/identity. I still swear that the alt-country movement owes as much to Paul Westerberg as it does to Gram Parsons.

    Gotta go pick up some Tuff Darts on Soulseek!

  13. The Velvet Underground did do at least one countryish song, actually: “One of These Days.” But it didn’t get a proper relase until 1984, 15 years after it was recorded.

  14. “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” and “Train Coming ‘Round the Bend” come across as parody. “Pale Blue Eyes” passes for counry in my book, albeit more Wille Nelson than Hank Sr.

    Shill: I hear you on the alternacountry/Replacements thing. I’ve long described the Old 97s as what Replacements fans listen to when they get old. Of course the band’s ranking traditionalist, bass player Murry Hammond, likes to tell Black Flag jokes between songs, so there you go.

  15. Heh, that’s a funny new!

  16. The Meteors, Rocket from the Crpyt, maybe Queens of the Stone Age?

  17. Robert Gordon/Tuff Darts

    I remember reading somewhere that Gordon hated punk, got out of it as quick as he could.

    I personally find punk to have been one of the great Emperor’s New Clothes of pop music. A lot of front, not much substance behind it. I thought there were a few good bands in it but I think from day to day Neil Diamond had as much to say as your average punk band.

    I’m just glad that none of these Rick Rubin types never got ahold of Bill Monroe. God, that would have killed me.

    Am I an old fart or what?

  18. Steve: I had forgotten about “Lonesome Cowboy Bill.” You’re right that it’s basically a parody, but perhaps it counts for something.

    I’m not sure I’d agree that “Pale Blue Eyes” is Willie-esque, though I’d love to hear a medley of it with “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” It is true, though, that Alejandro Escovedo did a somewhat countryish cover of the song. For that matter, the Cowboy Junkies did a nice alt-country take on “Sweet Jane.”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.