The Past Came Callin’ – Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Anyone who Eddie Spaghetti describes in such enthusiastic tones as “raw, real and passionate…and boy, do we need Mr Todd and his Rankoutsiders, now more than ever,” is someone I will automatically take notice of. But as album reviews go I should probably write a bit more to convince those who, unlike me, probably don’t hang on the Supersuckers front man’s every word. Rising from the ashes of his previous band, the brilliantly named Lazy Cowgirls, this time around the band sound follows a similar incendiary, outlaw rock and roll path, only without the more cow-punk leanings of before.

And if anyone thinks that straight down the line bluesy rock and roll is a one trick pony, then this is certainly the album that will change your mind. If Only I Could Fly Backwards in Time, kicks things off, an opening salvo that delivers Doll’s-esque punked out rock and roll and acts as the perfect way to get the juices moving and the listener acclimatised to the sonic heights (and perhaps depths) that they will be spending the next hour or so in. Call You On Saturday Night has a Georgia Satellites vibe to it, even Todd’s vocals on this making you check the liner notes for a guest appearance by Dan the man!

Songs such as Idle Time  and Down in Old Boerne tip the hat, probably a battered fedora rather than the more expected country classic, to the more countrified roots of his previous musical vehicle and these make the perfect breathing space between the more charged numbers. And between the two extremes there are brilliant R&B numbers such as Yeah, Ya Had a Bad Night…raw and raucous, soulful and melodic…like Southside Johnny on speed, or should that be even more speed!

It’s a glorious racket, a wander through the backwaters and byways of American music history and delivering a catalogue of blistering blues, over-cooked country and low-slung garage rock ‘n ’roll. But what really pushes this across the line ahead of the competition is that it also has good songs. Scratch that…it has great songs.

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