Smoke yer ya-yas out

Pasatiempo - - Pop Cd Reviews -

Most rock ’n’ roll bands that model them­selves af­ter the Rolling Stones try to be sub­tle about it. Not The Ch­ester­field Kings. They’ve al­ways been bla­tantly proud of it— and never more so than on their new CD/DVD Live On­stage ... If You Want It.

The ti­tle al­ludes to the Stones’ first live al­bum— Got Live If You Want It! The Kings are in­tro­duced as “the sec­ond-great­est rock ’ n’ roll band in the world.” Singer Greg Prevost prances around like Jag­ger and bassist Andy Babiuk even looks like Brian Jones. And most ob­vi­ous of all, lis­ten to the gui­tar hook of “Flash­back.” Re­mind you of a cer­tain Jump­ing Jack?

So dock them points for orig­i­nal­ity. But still, you’d have to have a heart of stone (dang, it’s con­ta­gious!) not to get a jolt from the rockin’ fun th­ese guys bring. Just like the old slo­gan of the lethal prod­uct from which they got their name, they sat­isfy.

The Kings, from Rochester, New York, have been around since the late ’ 70s and re­leas­ing records since the early ’ 80s. Along with groups like The Fuz­ztones and The Flesh­tones, The Kings were leaders of a garage-rock re­vival in that era. In the mid part of the past decade, the band came un­der the sway of a cer­tain mob­ster named Sil­vio Dante (a lit­tle in-joke for fans of The So­pra­nos) aka Lit­tle Steven Van Zandt, who made them a flag­ship band of his la­bel, Wicked Cool.

This al­bum, recorded live at a Rochester tele­vi­sion stu­dio, in­cludes ma­te­rial go­ing back at least as far as The Chester­fields’ 1994 al­bum Let’s Go Get Stoned— which is cool, be­cause so much of their older ma­te­rial is hard to find. (Some of the ear­lier al­bums have ap­par­ently never been re­leased on CD.)

Some of the high­lights of the show are “Johnny Vol­ume,” in which guest sax-man ChrisWicks wails like Bobby Keys in his prime; “IWalk in Dark­ness”— a pure ’ 60s garage-rock thriller with its Farfisa (or at least Farfisa-sound­ing) or­gan (by guest key­boardist Paul Nunes) and Yard­birdssound­ing har­mon­ica (by Prevost); “I’m So Con­fused, Baby”— Nunes’ or­gan riff sound­ing like it’s bor­rowed from “I’m Not Your Step­ping Stone”; and “Trans­par­ent Life,” which re­minds me of “Paint it Black.”

While the ba­sic sound of The Ch­ester­field Kings is right out of the ’60s, part of this al­bum is a jour­ney into the ’ 90s. I’m re­fer­ring to an “un­plugged” four-song seg­ment. The Chester­fields go “coun­try” on Merle Hag­gard’s “Sing Me Back Home” (which they first recorded for Let’s Go Get Stoned). But the best tune from this part of the show is the coun­try-blue­sish “Drunk­house,” which sounds like some long-lost Beg­gars Ban­quet out­take.

Speak­ing of go­ing coun­try, the first verse of “Stayed Too Long” starts out as if it’s go­ing to be a rocked-up ver­sion of the Lou­vin Broth­ers’ “The Chris­tian Life,” the open­ing line be­ing “My friends tell me that I should have waited.” It soon veers into an­other di­rec­tion, how­ever.

One small quib­ble: record­ing this per­for­mance at a TV stu­dio prob­a­bly en­sured good sound qual­ity. But I bet The Ch­ester­field Kings would sound twice as crazy be­fore a hopped-up night­club crowd where peo­ple aren’t sit­ting po­litely in chairs. See mys­pace.com/thech­ester­field­kings. More good­ies from the garage In the Blue Cor­ner by King Au­to­matic. He’s a one-man garage band from Nancy, France, play­ing gui­tar, key­boards, har­mon­ica, and drums and meld­ing them all to­gether through the magic of tape loops. It’s high tech and prim­i­tive at the same time.

On Au­to­matic’s pre­vi­ous al­bum, I Walk My Mur­der­ous In­ten­tions Home, he dis­played a knack for garage noir. He car­ries that even fur­ther on the new record, On Blue Cor­ner, his sec­ond release on Voodoo Rhythm Records. KA ex­pands his sound, show­ing more in­flu­ence from blues, sin­is­ter jazz, and Ja­maican rock steady.

A cou­ple of my fa­vorites here are “Doc­tor Jekyll & Sis­ter Hyde,” which sug­gests blues from some dark al­ley with a pi­ano riff lifted from “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” and “Things Are What They Are but Never What They Seem,” which has a melody that might have been in­spired by an all-night binge while lis­ten­ing to TomWaits al­bums— though it sounds like Jerry Lee Lewis is play­ing pi­ano.

“Let’s Have a Party” could be Mar­tians play­ing rock­a­billy, while “Le Re­dresseur de Torts,” with its thump­ing bass and drums an­swered by har­mon­ica honks, might be de­scribed as a bron­tosaurus blues. Then there’s “Mood Swings”— with its slinky, sleazy or­gan and faux Ja­maican-rhythm gui­tar, it could al­most be a scene from a movie in which some­thing’s about to go ter­ri­bly wrong in a cock­tail lounge. Check out mys­pace.com/lekingau­to­matic and voodoorhythm.com/KING-AU­TO­MATIC.html. ▼ A Dif­fer­ent Kind of Ugly by The Sons of Her­cules. Here’s Texas’ an­swer to The Ch­ester­field Kings. They might be from San An­to­nio, but the Sons are far more in­flu­enced by The New York Dolls, The Stooges, and other proto-punks than they are by Doug Sahm.

Singer Frank Pugliese belts ’ em out like a world-weary pro wrestler taunt­ing an op­po­nent. He’s al­ready won a place in punk-rock his­tory. His 1978 band The Vamps opened for The Sex Pis­tols at their San An­to­nio show.

While of­fer­ing few rev­e­la­tions, this al­bum is good rock­ing fun. I love how Dale Hol­low’s gui­tar goes from Chuck Berry to Chee­tah Chrome in noth­ing flat on “Stil­lWaitin’.” See mys­pace.com/ son­sofher­cules.

Back from the shad­ows again: Af­ter a twoweek hol­i­day break, The Santa Fe Opry re­turns to KSFR-FM 101.1 at 10 p.m. Fri­day night. And don’t for­get Ter­rell’s Sound­World same time, same chan­nel, Sun­day night.

Steve Ter­rell live: I’m do­ing an in­creas­ingly rare per­sonal mu­si­cal ap­pear­ance on Richard Nixon’s birth­day with ex-An­gry Samoan Gregg Turner and Lenny Hoff­man at 7 p.m. on Satur­day, Jan. 9, at the Aztec Café (317 Aztec St., 820-0025). There’s no cover.

New pod­cast: My lat­est episode of The Big En­chi­lada is up and rock­ing at bi­gen­chi­lad­pod­cast.com. ◀

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