Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Black Diamond Heavies - Alive As Fuck

Alive As Fuck
Alive Naturalsound

If you’re careless, you could easily dismiss the Black Diamond Heavies as just another cracker blues rock duo with a fetish for RL Burnside and T Model Ford. Like there aren’t plenty of those around. But the Nashville duo does possess certain qualities on Alive As Fuck (which was indeed recorded live, on a tape machine that kept cratering, thus only nine songs were preserved) that set it apart. For one, John Wesley Myers plays an apparently mud-caked organ instead of a guitar, plus he yowls like he’s channeling Tom Waits at his most desiccated. For another, unlike so many of their energetic but good-natured brethren, the Heavies sound just plain mean. It’s as if the boys heard Junior Kimbrough’s You Better Run at an early age and decided that, even if they were unwilling to actually write a song from the point of view of a rapist, they wanted that rotten-to-the-core attitude. Take a Ride, Happy Hour (another contemporary rewrite of Gimme Back My Wig) and Loose Yourself sound more like threats than invitations, and White Bitch (a cocaine diatribe, natch, not a reverse racist anthem) brutally trashes the joint (a Masonic lodge, by the way) with a raging wah-wah organ solo and particularly ugly vocals. Bidin My Time pulls a chair up to the bar and attempts to seduce the chick propped up with her glass, but it’s just a breather. The crowd seriously digs the abuse, and if you call an evening wherein you find blood in your mouth at closing time a good night, so will you.

- Michael Toland
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