What’s The Rockbrat Listening To Today? THE BLUEFIELDS – PURE (2012)

I knew this album was released some weeks back, but I just haven’t had a chance to listen to it. I heard Michael Butler play the tune “Train Wreck” on a recent episode of his ‘Rock n Roll Geek Show” and my interest was sky high enough to buy the thing and I got to tell you –  ‘Pure’ is likely to be one of the best things you’ll hear this year. If you are like me, and are a fan of the Georgia Satellites, Dan Baird, or any of the guitar / alternacountry peddled by bands like Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Whiskey Town etc, you should consider this essential. Whilst Baird and Hodges are key throughout,  Joe Blanton MAKES this album his own. Anyway, I was going to review this album myself, but then I read this superbly spot on review by Keith A Gordon that appeared on Burt Online, that I couldn’t better, so I thought I’d repost it. You can head the full review here……….Here is Keith’s review:

Probably the closest that the Nashville rock scene has ever come to the birth of a bona fide “supergroup,” the Bluefields comprise former Georgia Satellites’ frontman Dan Baird (who, more recently, fronts his own Dan Baird and Homemade Sin band); Jason & the Scorchers’ charismatic guitarslinger Warner E. Hodges (also a Homemade Sin band member); and singer/songwriter Joe Blanton, formerly of such beloved Music City rock ‘n’ roll institutions as the Enemy and Royal Court of China. All three men have a lot of miles under their belts, all three have experienced the fragile joys of a major label record deal, and all three have pursued solo careers with varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, their individual pedigrees are impeccable…That these three musicians came together is an act of provenance, perhaps, or maybe just the Holy Trinity (Chuck, Elvis & Bob) looking down from the Mount Olympus of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Blanton had returned to Nashville after a decade-long hiatus spent in the hinterlands pursuing the brass ring with an acclaimed, albeit impoverishing solo career. Blanton reconnected with his teenage pal Hodges (the two cutting their musical teeth together on the roughneck late ’70s Nashville punk scene), the guitarist in turn introducing Joe to Dan, the three subsequently finding acres of common ground. As these things happen, they decided to write and play together ’cause, well, that’s what rock lifers do, and the trio convened to Blanton’s secret, subterranean recording studio, dubbed by the newly-formed Bluefields as the “underground tree house.” I’m not sure whether it was the trio’s rapidly-formed musical chemistry, or if jars of pure-D white lightning corn liquor were passed around the basement studio, but Pure, the Bluefields’ debut album, serves up a righteous helping of shit-kickin’, guitar-driven, Southern-fried twang-rock that fans of both the Satellites and the Scorchers will nod their collective heads in approval of, although the Bluefields really sound nothing like either of those bands. Blanton takes the lead vocals on most of the tracks, the man really one of the best singers in the Music City, criminally overlooked among the glut of clones marching in lockstep through the halls of the record label offices that line Nashville’s notorious “Music Row.” Hodges does what he’s always done best, and that is to bash and mangle that plank of wood and steel, tearing sounds out of his instrument previously unheard of by man nor beast while Baird, the M.V.P. of any session he’s involved with, plays the fat-string, adds a little of his trademark Keith Richards-styled rhythm guitar where needed, pitches in on backing vocals, and even adds keyboards if necessary. Friend of the band Steve Gorman, from the currently-on-hiatus Black Crowes, adds his thunderous drumbeats to the majority of the songs. The bottom line, though, is that regardless of the talent assembled, it’s the music that matters…and Pure offers up more than a few surprises. The album kicks off with “What You Won’t Do,” the song’s brief instrumental intro displaying more than a few strains of Led Zeppelin’s Eastern-fueled musical mysticism. When the band kicks in, Gorman’s blast-beats ring loudly and the intertwined guitars are simply smothering. The instrumentation is thick, like an intoxicating smoke, the arrangement more than a little Zeppelinesque but with more twang and bang for your buck, mixing roots-and-hard-rock with a bluesy undercurrent to great effect. The jaunty “Bad Old Days” is both a gripping morality tale and a humorous page straight out of the Dan Baird songbook. With a rolling, Southern boogie-flavored soundtrack, the lyrics recall a tale of woe that all three band members have lived in one manner or another. Sobriety doesn’t come easy, those crazy old days are in the rear view mirror, and with guitars that swing with anarchic glee, “Bad Old Days” is an unbridled rocker tailor-made for radio…if radio still played rock ‘n’ roll, that is……..”Don’t Let Me Fall” is an old-school romantic ballad, the sort of song that, with enough hairspray and metallic hooks, would have had the spandex-clad bottle-blondes pulling out their lighters twenty-five years ago. In these days and times, though, Blanton’s vocals are timelessly heartworn, Hodges’ Duane Eddy-styled background riffs a perfect accompaniment. The band doesn’t stay morose for long, though, launching directly into “Nobody Loves You,” a pop-tinged rollicking boogie-rocker with a ’80s new wave vibe built on a spry rhythm, ambitious rolling drumbeats, and shards of wiry guitar. By this time in the album’s sequencing, the Bluefields sound like they’re having way too much fun, a hypothesis easily proven by the Zep-styled reprise of “Repair My Soul,” a larger than life, foot-stomping hard-rocker. Built on a foundation of dirty Delta blues, the song is raised to the heavens on the strength of intricate (and inordinately heavy) guitars that sound like a clash of the titans, and Gorman’s unbelievable drum tones, which sound eerily like the angry ghost of John Bonham banging on the cans. With lyrics dealing with sin and salvation, if this one doesn’t scorch the hair from your head and get your feet a moving, then you’re probably deaf (or a Justin Bieber fan…shudder).  As good a song and performance as “Repair My Soul” may be…and make no mistake true believers, it’s one of the best rock songs you’ll hear in your lifetime…the Bluefields trio scale the heights of the aforementioned Mount Olympus with the incredible “Flat Out Gone.” A runaway locomotive of choogling guitars, racing drumbeats, defiant vocals, and swaggering rhythms, one can hear the entirety of the pantheon of rock heroes channelled through each and every note: Chuck Berry, Duane Eddy, Gene Vincent & the Bluecaps, Eddie Cochran, Big Joe Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Roy Orbison, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Seger, Bo Diddley, Johnny Burnette, Ike Turner, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Doug Sahm, Link Wray, Mitch Ryder, Elmore James, the Yardbirds, the Band, Bob Dylan, and the almighty Elvis himself. The song is three minutes and twenty-two seconds of pure, unvarnished rock ‘n’ roll cheap thrills, the likes of which come around far too infrequently these days for my tastes and, I’m betting, your tastes too…There’s more, much more to be heard on Pure, the album probably the best example you’ll ever hear of three guys getting together and making music for the sheer joy of it all. Every note played, every word sung, every beat of the drum is the result of lives lived in thrall to the muse of rock ‘n’ roll, albeit with a distinctively Southern perspective. As a result, Pure lives up to its name, the album probably the purest expression of reckless country soul that’s ever been carved into wax. Buy the album direct from the band at http://www.thebluefields.com/


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