From the album “Now I Got Worry”
YEEEEE-AY-EH!!! C’MON!!! BLUES EXPLOSION, BABY!!! I SAID I GOT THE BLUES!!! I NEED HELP!!! THE BLUES IS NUMBER ONE!!! I SAID: THE BLUES IS NUMBER ONE!!! ADAM COLE, BAY-BAY!!! I SAID I GOT THE BLUE - THE BLUE MONSTER!!! SIZZLIN’ BACON, MAN!!! EVERYONE SAYS ‘HI’!!!...
Good lord, it’s difficult to operate at that level of intensity for more than a few seconds at a time! Kudos, then, to the almighty Blues Explosion, who were able to manage it for 90 to 120 minutes every night of repeated world tours, playing to bigger houses than their cult-ish record sales would suggest due largely to one simple factor: they are fantastic live.
When former Pussy Galore rabble-rouser Spencer recruited similarly chaos-oriented allies in apparent bluegrass guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins, who uses a kit so small it is insulting to measure it in pieces, some kind of voodoo magic was invoked, and the resultant ultra-power trio set out to immolate stages the world over, with their reputation spreading through word of mouth, when that was a thing: “you HAVE to see this band”.
The first time I saw them properly live at their own show, rather than a festival slot, was… Well I’m fairly sure it was November 27, 1998, at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Fairly sure, anyway – it fits the timeframe. The opening of that show was them playing this song, followed by “Flavor” and “Attack”, without stopping. It never occurred to me that live music could be presented like that, and whilst it could well have been meticulously planned, it seemed incredibly loose and free-flowing – indeed, nigh-on dangerous, to the meticulous setlist-writer and sweaty between-song-drinker that I was as a nascent performer.
The song itself is nestled away halfway through side one of “Now I Got Worry”, a less accessible but arguably deeper picture of the band than presented on their previous album “Orange”. Both this song and “Orange”’s highlight “Bellbottoms” have a feeling of the brakes cutting out as you careen down a hill, so there’s certainly some consistency there. In a very Blues Exploison choice, it actually gets quieter during the chorus – though that is in comparison to the verse, which is so loud it sounds like the guitars are screaming in agony. There’s a really odd but cool overdrive effect on this tune as well; very crunchy, very nice.
Again this was a gateway band for me, and with a little help from my friend Laurie, I was soon all over garage rock past and present – they sent me backwards to The Stooges and The MC5, introduced me directly to Andre Williams, The Countdowns and Brassy, and branched me off into Guitar Wolf, Rocket From The Crypt, The mAKE-UP – God DAMN it, how good were The mAKE-UP? - and The Gories, and their descendants The Dirtbombs and Demolition Dollrods… To name but a few, or I’d be here all day. Given all that they have ushered me towards, I will always be more than happy to step up to the stand and wail in their honour.
In our next, probably less shouty instalment, it’s time to “Bring On The Dancing Horses”, as “The Cutter” beckons – but beware, for “Nothing Lasts Forever”! (Also: some Electrafixion songs.)