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The Mammals - Rock That Babe

Rock That Babe

The Mammals


Signature Sounds Recording Company
P. O. Box 106
Whatley, MA 01093

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Allen Price

On their web site, the Mammals refer to themselves as "Subversive Acoustic Traditionalists." Their music is high octane, forceful string band music. Their traditional sound is mixed with relevant, politically charged lyrics. These folks have something to say and they say it eloquently.

The hard driving music of the Mammals reminds one of the Freight Hoppers or Old Crow Medicine Show. Take that driving edge and combine it with the political/moral conscience of the Almanac Singers or the Weaver and you come close to getting what the Mammals are all about. At a time when speaking out goes against the grain, the Mammals are stepping forward and laying their political cards on the table. At last, someone is singing about what's really going on again.

The Mammals show a deep understanding of the traditional music that is the inherent in their playing. As folks did years ago, many of the Mammals' songs are combinations of songs poems and musical interludes put together. Tao Rodriguez's clawhammer banjo literally dances through this album, as does Ruth Ungar's fiddle work. The band collectively plays a wide variety of instruments: banjo, guitar, bass, fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, drums, organ, and glockenspiel.

The music of the Mammals reminds us of not only our musical but our historic traditions. They cause us to tap our foot and think deeply about our world at the same time. What's more traditionally American than that?


Tao Rodriguez - vocals, long neck banjo, acoustic 12 string guitar, electric 12 string guitar, mandolin
Ruth Ungar - vocals, fiddle, resophonic ukulele, acoustic guitar, electric ukulele, soprano ukulele
Michael Merenda - vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, electric guitar, Pollman banjo, soprano ukulele, resophonic ukulele, percussion, baritone ukulele
Ken Mauri - drums, Wurlitzer, Hammond B-3, percussion, glockenspiel, harmony vocals
Pierce Woodward - electric bass, glockenspiel
Aofie O'Donovan & Chris Merenda - harmony vocals

Track List:

  • Fall on My Knees (Traditional)
  • The Bush Boys (Merenda)
  • Reel Du Bebe Gate/Hellgate (Merenda, Ungar, Rodriguez/Ungar)
  • Father William (Merenda, Ungar, Rodriguez)
  • Chan Chan (Compay Segunda)
  • Bad Shoes Blues (Ungar, Rodriguez)
  • Lay Down Yr Mountain (Words by Alan Ginsberg, Music by Michael Merenda)
  • John Henry (Traditional)
  • D-Medley : Cumberland Gap, Mississippi Sawyer, Rock the Cradle Joe (Traditional)
  • Pearls (Merenda, Rodriguez)
  • Quite Early Morning (Pete Seeger)
  • Go On Traveling (Merenda)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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