The Peckham Cowboys
'10 Tales from the Gin Palace'
Release Date: Feb 14th 2014
There’s something going on in deepest South London. First it was the Bermondsey Joyriders with their face melting slide guitar infused blues-punk. Now we have the Peckham Cowboys purveying the sort of whisky snorting, hipshaking, harmonica melting, sleazy and greasy rock n’ roll that you’ve been longing for.
If you enjoy listening to bootlegs of the (London) Quireboys from their mid-80s/Gossips n’ Marquee Club/pre-EMI era, the Small Faces at their most cockney, or Izzy Stradlin’s detours inot reggae, then you’ll probably like this too.
Founded by ex-Quireboy Guy Bailey alongside fellow stalwarts of the British rawk n’ roll scene Marc Eden and Dale Hodgkinson, and a drum machine, The ‘Cowboys already released one album entitled ‘Flog It’ in 2011. With Bailey no longer involved, the current line-up includes Timo Kaltio (Hanoi Rocks, Izzy Stradlin Band, Cheap & Nasty) on guitar, Duncan McKay (Primal Scream) on horns and keys, Ryan McCormick (Steven Adler Band) on drums, as well as another former Quireboy (and one of the best rock n’ roll bassists in the business) – Nigel Mogg.
The band have come up with some good soundbites to describe their style, “like Steptoe and Son on crack” and “a fire alarm going off in the burning remnants of the music industry”. Whilst that all looks great in print, it doesn't provide much of a reference point. The closest comparison that I could think of was some of the stuff recorded by Quireboys frontman Spike’s mid-90s ‘God’s Hotel’ project – or better still, imagine the Quireboys ‘From Tooting to Barking’ demos played through a distortion pedal.
But there’s more to this band of Gin Lane dwelling ne'er do wells than their Quireboys connections - the likes of ‘The Debt Collector’ and ‘Don’t Damn The Hypnotist’ give the album more depth than your usual rock n’ roll album and there are some imaginative and interesting twists. There’s some dub and reggae, some distortion, some light and shade, and some amusing lyrics too. All in all it is a strong album, which captures the sound of London’s dirty underbelly and a true spirit of rock n’ roll that is all too rare in this day and age.
If you like bluesy hard rock but not the airbrushed sort that yuppie’s listen to, then give these “Sarf Lahndahn” chancers a listen, you’ll not regret it. Alongside fellow South-of-the-river rockers the Bermondsey Joyriders, and others such as Taurus Trakker, The Peckham Cowboys are doing their bit to not only keep rock n’ roll alive but to take it into some new directions away from the beaten path.
~ Reviewed by Alex Eruptor