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Friday, July 19, 2013

Back Street Crawler - 2nd Street

Artist: Back Street Crawler
Album: 2nd Street
Year: 1976
Style: Pub Rock, Guitar Rock, Southern Blues
Similar Bands: Bad Company, Allman Brothers Band, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd
"One Word" Review: Southern Guitar Blues
Based Out Of: England
Label: ATCO, Atlantic Records
2nd Street - Cover, Sleeve Photo, Record 
2nd Street - Back, Liner Notes, Record
2nd Street (1976)
  1. Selfish Lover 3:26
  2. Blue Soul 3:46
  3. Stop Doing What You're Doing 3:26
  4. Raging River 3:16
  5. Some Kind of Happy 5:00 /
  6. Sweet Sweet Beauty 3:14
  7. Just For You 6:18
  8. On Your Life 3:54
  9. Leaves in the Wind 5:12 
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5
Memebers & Other Bands:
Terry Wilson Slesser - Vox (Beckett, Charlie)
Paul Kossoff - Guitar (Free)
Terry Wilson - Bass, Guitars (Bloontz, Blackwell, Speedy Keen)
John "Rabbit" Bundrick - Keys, Vox (The Who, Johnny Nash, Bob Marley, Free)
Tony Braenaugel - Drums, Vox (Bloontz, Taj Mahal, Eric Burdon Band)
John Bundrick
Richard Digby Smith - Engineering
Glyn Johns - Mix Producer
Abie Sussman - Art Direction
Bob Defrin - Art Direction
David Wilcox - Illustration
Sam Emerson - Sleeve Photo
W.G. Snuffy Walden - Guitars (Stray Dog, Free, Eric Burdon Band, TV: My So Called Life)

Unknown-ness:

I’ve never heard of this band. I found the record in a dusty pile of records in a shady but very nice thrift shop in New Orleans. There was not much that I liked about the album to be honest, I was just on a hunt while on vacation to find records that I’d not heard of, thinking that this would be something local. Based on the name and the “character” on the front, it seems like the back image is setting up some sort of Jack the Ripper esq. storyline. But I like how it was done: reminds me of Joe Jackson.

Album Review:
So this was an album from a very talented guitarist, but heavily medicated, Paul Kossoff, whom I’m not really familiar with, yet understand he was highly revered. Due to his drug issues and subsequent health issues, I read that W.G. Snuffy Walden actually recorded much of the guitar on this album. Walden has recently become more famous for popping up in TV scoring, with such hits like thirtysomething, Wonder Years, My So Called Life, West Wing, Friday Night Lights, Rosanne, Quarterlife and Under the Dome to name a few.

“Selfish Lover” starts off right away with a bluesy back alley rock song, dripping with sleaze and sweat. The song has a distinctive hard rock composition, where the vocals are guided by the music, rather than the music supporting the vocals. The chorus is off-times, dropped in the middle of the verse with out any sort of bridge leading up to it. The chorus has a big and heavy sound. I keep thinking the vocals are saying Sandwich lover, but I know it is not that. We know what direction Weird Al would have taken the song if it were popular enough to earn parody
“Blue Soul” is a slow, sulking ballad. The only power the song gives off is in the chorus, and it feels like an Allman Brothers or Lynard Skynyrd or some other classic/country rock blend. The way the vocals are harmonized, it almost has a Native American feel to the production and lyrically “Cold Wind Blow, Blow These Blues Away.”
“Stop Doing What You're Doing” picks up a bluesy bass line straight out of Higher Ground. The song is repetitive, catchy and slightly psychedelic. It drives and grooves with care free, hippy-jazz abandon. The song is basically made up of short, but jamming instrumental sections patched together with the chorus, and spoken word verse seems.
“Raging River” switched gears back to the slow, methodical southern bluesy trippin’ jam. It has a nice flow to it, and is catchy, not just ramblin’ but it could put you to sleep if you are not spaced out on drugs. The vocals have a free range to speak over the instrumental sections at whim, giving it a slight jazzy feel.
“Some Kind of Happy” begins with a quiet, solemn organ sound, and launches into something that feels like a Rod Stewart song in the verse. The chorus builds up with emotion, and the lead vocals sound a little Jimmy Page-ish, and is backed up by a choir of female vocals. The end of the song is long and drawn out, with the guitar feeling like a storm, and the choir of the title repeats over and over with more randomly sung vocals. It is climactic in its chaos.

“Sweet Sweet Beauty” is a slowed down, sweaty and bluesy love ballad. It has a country/western (think Blaze of Glory) feel. It could be a soundtrack scored song to when a rough and tumble outlaw falls for a delicate yet deadly woman.
“Just for You” has a slow gritty start, which carries on through out, with a minorly rhaspy Eric Clapton or George Harrison reminiscent chorus. It also carries a very sad undertone, which classifies it as a bluesy jam. It builds up toward the end, and finishes with a quick, and abrupt ending
“On Your Life” is a crooning ballad, sung in another Rod Stewart-like performance. It is a slow and boldly confident song featuring an organ in the background that makes the song, and especially the chorus, seem like gospel.
“Leaves in the Wind” ends with an optimistic and upbeat jazzy pub rock song that sounds like a jazzier J Geils Band. The chorus breaks from the verse’s jazziness and is powerful and ethereal. The contrasting verse and chorus of the song, and later combined with the instrumental sections, really define what this band stands for and does.

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