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Review: 'Snakeoil Rattlers, The'

-  Label: 'Old recipe records/Bandcamp'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: '20.8.21.'

Our Rating:
Backwater is the Debut album from long running London Southern Rock, country and Bluegrass band The Snakeoil Rattlers who are fronted by Barry Warren who is an old friend, he has the legendary Dave Morgan on drums and John O'Sullivan on Guitar, Kev O'Neill on Lap Steel and Rain on Bass. They have been playing many of the songs on this album live for the last 10 years or so.

The album opens with Fire In The Hole that has a very Crazy Horse feel to the music as Barry Warren's nasally vocals come in to let us know what the emergency is that has him shouting Fire In The Hole repeatedly.

Lazarus is bluegrass-tinged country rock tale of murder and despair as the tale of what happened to poor Lazarus who managed to scrape himself back into this realm, there's some great picking going on as the tale gets darker and more twisted as if they are about to have some lynching's in Upper Holloway.

Devil's In My Rearview chugs along like your doing 50 down Holloway Road and chasing your demons away, as the devil has forgotten all about going down to Georgia and has taken up residence in Tufnell Park instead. This has some very fine guitar playing on it.

Slow Train To Georgia has Dave Morgan playing a proper train beat that everything else is built around as this tale of Love and travelling the rails down to Georgia unfolds it's bucolic and lilting and also rather infectious even before the harmonica brings things to a close.

Grand-Daddy's Gun is a sorry tale of betrayal and what happened with that gun, this is musically sparser to make sure the lyrics sink in, it slowly builds as the tragedy becomes more apparent.

Dixieland does have the feel of the sort of song you might wrap yourself in a confederate flag too before realizing the Rattlers don't seek solace in Old Glory but are more likely to be influenced by Little Feat.

Road Tales does what you'd expect from the title as they take a journey through some cheap motels while cruising down that highway and thinking of the Chain Gangs that might have built that road.

Preacher Road opens with some gospel piano as this lilting bluegrass style song of redemption and the worry that the Devil might be living three doors down.

Yo Captain has some call and response vocals to pretty straight-ahead country rock to set a scuffle too as you shuffle on down that line.

Bitter Town a song about a gambling rambling man down in Georgia although it could just as easily have been Finsbury Park as the wicked lap steel solo opens things up giving that a rather widescreen feel to it.

Sirens Of The Highway is another road song as they are ready to drive back to the Ranch, and from the sound of it they are still searching for there own Sweethearts of the rodeo, and they won't find that siren with her thumb out on that highway, but the chiming guitars and mandolin may well seduce that Siren if she gets to hear this.

The album closes with Bloods No Thicker Than Backwater one last dark tale of despair with more superb playing and as they continue to get lost in the Backwaters of the American South once more, they reveal their feelings with soaring guitars.

Find out more at www.snakeoilrattlers.co.uk www.snakeoilrattlers.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/snakeoilrattlers

  author: simonovitch

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