For some reason, The Wild Rumpus isn't saying whether it's a trio or a foursome, it's inner lining showing four gents, the promo sheet cutting out the guitarist. So do the pics on the group's site and elsewhere. Hmmmm, do we have another Patrick Moraz Incident here, wherein poor Pat got excised from Moody Blues and Yes photos and literature for reasons not entirely clear? Well, regardless, this ain't Moraz-style music but instead mid-fi tavern stompgrass, as the band itself terms things, with antecedents that reach back to Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and the era that followed, producing all those folk groups of the late 50s and early 60s.
This means the style is not as studied as it would later come to be, much more casual within definite architecture, a good deal more grassrootsy, something you might hear the talented members of town square gatherings pealing out for the citizenry's pleasure. The edges are rough and ragged but the center holds it own. No engineering data is given, and I'm guessing the band documented itself, as a number of recording flaws are apparent, especially the recessing of the vocals. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing for crying-in-your-beer music, which a good deal of this almost is, but it ain't the most propitious mark of product hoping to do well in the market.
Interestingly, the band credits Gibby Haynes, Mojo Nixon, Ice Cube, and other disparate individuals in the liner credits though their sound comes close only to Nixon's (esp. with Skid Roper). Shoulda Done Better has a hard-tack folk blues to it, kinda like a Tennessee vibe by way of the Volga Boatmen. The guys appear to have produced themselves, and that's often a bad idea, as there's a lot more to the sound than is fully shown here—and a good producer woulda yanked it that extra dimension of the threesome (foursome?). Thus, not bad for a debut effort but not what it should be…and they could use a better PR outfit as well.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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