Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - Swampblood (2007)

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Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - Swampblood (2007)

Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - Swampblood (2007)
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Swamp Rock/Blues, Alternative, Country, Psychobilly | Yep Roc Records #YEP 2149

Th' Legendary Shack Shakers haven't called their fifth studio album Swampblood for nothing -- there's plenty of the band's usual amped-up Dixie-core frenzy on this album, but as usual they continue to expand their musical palette with each album, and on this set the Tennessee hell-raisers have added a healthy portion of classic swamp rock to the menu. The title cut sounds like Tony Joe White if he'd been born under an especially bad sign, the dark harp-enhanced shuffle of "Old Spur Line" calls up the ghost of Slim Harpo, and "Hellwater" could be the best Creedence Clearwater Revival track John Fogerty and company never bothered to record...
There's a lot more stylistic shape-shifting on Swampblood; "Eastern Flesh" and "Cheat the Hangman" show the band can still crank the tempos with the best of them, "The Deadenin'" and "When I Die" are a gloomy but energetic slices of Southern gothic, "Down and Out" is a weird ghostly march into the unknown, "He Ain't Right" is a whacked-out rockabilly stomp, and "Angel Lust"'s rollicking piano could pass for jazz in dim light. Whatever th' Shack Shakers do, they do full-out, and Swampblood offers ample evidence that these guys have instrumental skills to go along with their imagination and mania -- David Lee's guitar work is superb regardless of the context, Colonel J.D. Wilkes' vocals and harmonica are both feral but superbly controlled, and bassist Mark Robertson and Brett Whitacre are one powerfully tight rhythm section. While some have accused Th' Legendary Shack Shakers of being more about schtick than music, a quick spin of their albums tells the real story -- they offer up something different each time they step into the recording studio, and Swampblood shows they aren't running out of steam anytime soon.

A roots rock juggernaut from Nashville, Tennessee, the Legendary Shack Shakers are a hot-rodded foursome combining blues, rockabilly, country, and rock & roll into one manic assemblage boasting all the gloriously explosive instability of an M-80. Originally comprised of Colonel J.D. Wilkes on lead vocals and harmonica, Joe Buck on guitar, Mark "The Duke" Robertson on upright bass, and Pauly Simmonz behind the drums, the Legendary Shack Shakers were all members of various renegade country acts playing in Nashville's notorious "Lower Broadway" district, and Buck and Wilkes spent time playing on the road as part of Hank Williams III's band.

Assuming the Shack Shakers moniker in 2001, the band quickly developed a potent reputation for its raucous live show, in which the manic tempo of the music was matched by Wilkes' over the top stage performance, which earned him a citation as Nashville's Best Frontman in the Music City entertainment magazine Scene. After extensive touring with Hank Williams III and Southern Culture on the Skids, the Legendary Shack Shakers self-released their first CD, Cockadoodledon't, in early 2003; shortly afterward, the band signed with Chicago-based "insurgent country" label Bloodshot Records, which reissued Cockadoodledon't in the spring of that same year.

In 2003, Buck left the Shack Shakers to play with Hank III full-time, and the heavily tattooed David Lee took over on guitar; the new lineup of the band moved from Bloodshot to Yep Roc Records for the release of the (somewhat) more polished sophomore album, 2004's Believe. In 2005, Simmonz left the band and was replaced by Brett Whitacre. Their third record, Pandelerium, arrived in January 2006. The live Lower Broad Lo-Fi was released in 2007, followed later that same year by Swampblood. Agri-dustrial appeared in 2010, which featured guitarist Duane Denison, formerly of the Jesus Lizard and Hank III's road band.

After a five-year layoff, the Legendary Shack Shakers returned in 2015 with a lineup featuring Wilkes on vocals, blues harp, and banjo, Robertson on bass, Rod Hamdallah on guitar, and Brett Whitacre on drums. The band signed a deal with Alternative Tentacles Records, which released the album The Southern Surreal in time for the Shack Shakers' 20th anniversary. When not busy with his musical career, Wilkes is also known as a visual artist, publishing comic books and creating elaborate "carnival art" murals on discarded roll-up projection screens.
~ Mark Deming, All Music

Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - Swampblood (2007)

Track List:

01. Dawn [00:35]
02. Old spur line [03:48]
03. Hellwater [02:13]
04. Easter flesh [02:17]
05. Swampblood [03:11]
06. Dusk [00:17]
07. Cheat the hangman [01:37]
08. Born again again [02:19]
09. The deadenin ‘ [02:49]
10. Down and out [03:12]
11. Jimblyleg man [02:40]
12. He ain’t right [02:11]
13. Angel lust [01:56]
14. Preachin’ at traffic [01:39]
15. When I die [01:15]
16. Bright sunny south [01:03]

Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - Swampblood (2007)

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