The Bullhounds bring the feel of the old MC5 and Dictators back to life via a most unusual roster. Three of the lads are ex-Georgia Satellites (I REALLY dug that band, but be warned: this is only rarely an extension of them), another used to ply the six-strings for Sheryl Crow, and the final member's a business entrepreneur who could never set aside his love of music and thus fell prey to the muse. The cover cartoon's by one of my all-time fave classic artists, Paul Klee, yet boasts the modernism of a Mark Marek illo with more than a little George Grosz tossed in for savage pleasure. That lunatic fucking dog signifies the unrestrained primitivisms of rock and roll's roots, something vocalist Erling Daeli fears is being lost in the slickness of studio wizardry, and he's too often right on that, though The Bullhounds don't fall prey to the problem at all.
The Satellites' old vibe comes through most strongly in Mean Mean Girl just after the hip Chuck Berry-esque Little Lady. The rough and tumble of Daeli's vocal exercises, though, best reveals itself in Cruel, ironically enough. Amid two crashing guitarists (Rick Richards, Peter Stroud), he manages to keep equal footing and amp up the hewn energetics in a manner Handsome Dick Manitoba would envy (interesting fact: Manitoba [Richard Blum] was never really a member of The Dictators, instead ever a roadie and 'mascot' who came to greater and greater prominence in the ensemble).
My fave track is Born with Nothin', a muscular blues with an almost Doorsy rendition of same, but rooted in rebellion against the ghosts of Ma and Pa Kettle and Ward and June Cleaver rather than The Establishment (though that's secretly included as well). Protector is never artsy-fartsy but instead a stompin' rocker blooded by its own knives and brass knucks. I mean, with songs like Drunk, Tired, and Mean and Red Kroovy, the latter penned by Alexander DeLarge (oops! I mean 'Alec White'!), waddaya expect? Listen up, y'all: if yer rock 'n roll palette's been much too mannered via prettified melodics and sweetsy lyrics of late, this is the 100%, goddamned, pure-dee solution to all that. No shit. Roll up your sleeves, pin back your ears, and get the greasy t-shirt and torn dungarees on 'cause no mercy is tendered and, if you have half a brain in your head, none is asked. You'll get your hands dirty while shakin' the shimmy and go home exhausted but with a crooked smile on yer drunken mug.
SIDE NOTE: The business element has always fucked up rock and roll—all music, for that matter—but if anyone can make heads or tails of the incredibly jacked credits attribution just below the title to Fugitive in the 8-page liner (with way bitchin' lyrics reprinted throughout; these guys really know how to choose their repertoire—none of it classic but all of it kickass), write and let me know what the fuck is what! It's the most impenetrable set of crosswired legalistics I've ever read in my life. I know basic law fairly well and even shut down my law school through an action with Sacramento that caused three new regulations to be created to protect students from rip-off vocational institutes, but the tangle of crazed, shyster, mumblemouth semantics colliding together here has me climbing the walls. Does no one cognize that the businessman is the oldest, and probably the only, enemy of mankind?
Man o man, come the revolution……
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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