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Various Artists : Sucking The 70s - Back In The Saddle

It's time to get out your air guitars, brothers and sisters! The artists on this essential comp. make no bones about pledging allegiance to The Riff. In so doing, they show a thorough understanding of their roots. In which decade are these roots anchored? Methinks I hardly need to name it, but if you feel a strange urge to paint the album covers of 'Dark Side of the Moon' or 'Zozo' on the side of your boogie van after hearing this compilation, then you're gettin' it man, you're gettin' it!

The only really bad thing about '...Back in the Saddle' is that it's been four long years since its ground breaking older brother, 'Sucking the 70s' came out. Hell, I could easily see one of these volumes coming out every year, never mind the work involved. Other than that, it's all a matter of taste, and as long as you're in the groove, you'll find something to love on this new one. There's tons of variety. First off are the most outstanding tunes, firsts among equals. There's a big handful, including Colour Haze's take on 'One Way or Another' (NOT Blondie, but Cactus), Acid King's psychedelic doomed-out version of Steve Miller's 'The Stake,' which to the unschooled could easily seem like an original composition, Novadriver's 'Sin City,' which sounds as bratty as Robin Zander wearing 80s Angus Young horns and painting graffiti on an nunnery, not to mention Throttlerod's whip crack cover of Willie Dixon's 'I Just Wanna Make Love to You,' as first interpreted by Foghat. Which btw. was their best song, 'Slow Ride' notwithstanding (RIP Lonesome Dave). And let's not forget Roadsaw's awe-inspiring version of Zep's 'When the Levee Breaks,' which achieves the near-impossible feat of besting the original, mainly because Robert Plant is so annoying. In my opinion, of course.

Yes, this album is about re-interpreting and re-defining, not simply covering. The vast majority of these groups - which are mostly (but not exclusively) Small Stone artists - succeed beyond anyone's expectations. Sure, there are some clunkers. Los Natas, a group whose output I have collected assiduously and enjoyed thoroughly since the late 90s, stumbles on their curiously wooden 'Born to Be Wild'. There are some songs - 'Dreamweaver' and 'Honky Cat' come to mind - which I could cheerfully never hear again. However, given Valis' and Halfway to Gone's reinterpretations of these FM staples, I can at least say that I can tolerate these songs for the first time in many years. Sadly, Whitey Morgan and the Waycross Georgia Farmboys' novelty country take on 'Running with the Devil' doesn't do anything for one of the few Van Halen songs I can actually stand.

Part of the fun of this compilation is getting to hear new work from old friends thought long defunct. This collection boats tuneage from Halfway to Gone, Roadsaw, and Red Giant. Rumors and facts surrounding these groups' dissolution have been floating around for quite some time, so it's good to see 'em back with some recent material.

Granted, this is not the ground breaker that the first one was, back in '02. How could it be? But as a document in a continuing series showcasing superior musician's re-working and re-interpretation of classic heavy 70s grooves, it makes perfect sense. How about a comp. of takes on late 70s punk? Orange Goblin shows us the way on 'Back to the Saddle'; with their great cover of The Damned's 'New Rose.' Or maybe a prog collection? There are endless fields of heaviness yet to be mined. One more thing: harvesting all this talent was no mean feat, and we owe big ups to the label for taking the time to do such a splendid job. Cheers!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
CD 1:
1. 'Are You Ready?'
Puny Human:
2. 'Crazy Horses'
Clutch & Five Horse Johnson:
3. 'Red Hot Mama'
Dixie Witch:
4. 'Rock Candy'
The Brought Low:
5. 'Don't Lie to Me'
6. 'Sin City'
Colour Haze:
7. 'One Way or Another'
Alabama Thunderpussy:
8. 'Man on the Silver Mountain'
9. 'Mongoloid'
Acid King:
10. 'The Stake'
Halfway to Gone:
11. 'Honky Cat'
12. 'Those Shoes'
Brad Davis:
13. 'Outlaw Man'
Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned:
14. 'Season of the Witch'
Whitey Morgan and the Waycross Georgia Farmboys:
15. 'Running with the Devil'

CD 2:
1. 'I Just Wanna Make Love to You'
Red Giant:
2. 'Saturday Night Special'
A Thousand Knives of Fire:
3. 'Bonie Maronie'
The Glasspack:
4. 'Rock n' Roll Singer'
5. 'When the Levee Breaks'
6. 'Super Stupid'
Fireball Ministry:
7. 'Turn to Stone'
Los Natas:
8. 'Born to be Wild'
Scott Reeder:
9. 'Two of Us'
Orange Goblin:
10. 'New Rose'
Mos Generator:
11. 'Garden Road'
12. 'Snortin' Whiskey'
The Muggs:
13. 'I Don't Need No Doctor'
Amplified Heat:
14. 'Neighbor, Neighbor'
15. 'Parchment Farm'
16. 'Dreamweaver'

Duration : Approx. 156 minutes

Visit the Various Artists bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
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