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Slick 57 - Ghost Of Bonnie Parker

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 7 / 8 / 2002

Slick 57 - Ghost Of Bonnie Parker
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Impressive merger of old school punk with old school country on third album of Dallas-based trio, Slick 57

Based in Dallas, Slick 57 are a three-piece band formed in 1998 by John Pedigo (vocals and guitars), Ward Richmond (bass and vocals) and drummer Trey Pendergrass. This is their third album, following on from 1998’s ‘Lo-Fi Lorraine and her Bag Of Tricks’ and 1999’s ‘Drunk Life’. Coming across like The Clash fronted by Billie Joe from Green Day singing the songs of Hank Williams played on an old speeded up Dansette they are best summed up by the words of Ward Richmond. He reckons “We’re old school punk rock merged with old school country, merged with chicks getting naked and rock and roll”. There is a certain music magazine that asks a handful of artists each month a number of questions. One of these is always “Name your favourite Saturday night record”. As they are never likely to ask me I’ll put mine forward here. It would have to be ‘The Ghost Of Bonnie Parker’. Of the eleven tracks there is not one that would not put me in a good frame of mind for a lively night out. In fact, I’ve played this energetic mix of punk rock and traditional country whenever I’ve needed a kick on the butt, and it’s never failed to raise my spirits and lift the gloom. It’s all been done before, of course, but never quite as well as this trio do it nor with the same enthusiasm. Maybe it is in the way they use pedal steel guitar and fiddle which make it stand head and shoulders above the rest or maybe it’s their neat way of telling stories, like in the old country songs and best exemplified here by the track ‘Jessica’. The guy in this song has lost his job, his girl, is in debt, on the bottle and friendless, but still the song gets the feet tapping despite the hopelessness in the vocals. And that is what makes this album so good, taking the more depressing moments in life, and instead of making the listener reach for the nearest knife or bottle actually makes them forget their troubles and their feet move and their bodies feel alive again. Titles like ‘Nervous Wreck’, ‘Cheatin’ Side Of Town’ and ‘Ex-Girlfriend’s Wedding (with some outstanding pedal from guest Todd Pertll) speak volumes about the songs here. At some point (believe it or not if you’re under 25, I felt the same way) country music is going to start to sound more appealing as the years go by. Slick 57 produce a take on country music that it is okay to like no matter what age you are. If country music means men singing in Stetsons to you right now and sounds like your worst nightmare then give Slick 57 a listen, you’d be very surprised what gets tagged country these days. Even the closing ballad, ‘Stormy Night’, has enough of that punk menace and attitude lurking in the shadows to make it something special. So a good record to play while getting ready for a Saturday night out. Of course going on to see this band live on the basis of this record afterwards would make it a perfect Saturday night.

Track Listing:-
1 Nervous Wreck
2 I Won't Beg
3 Cheatin' Side of Town
4 Still Waitin'
5 Hemmenway
6 Swashbuckler, Tx
7 Jessica
8 So Slow
9 Holiday
10 Heading to My Ex-Girlfriend's Wedding
11 Stormy Night

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