Saturday, June 6, 2009

L - Lazy Cowgirls - "Tapping the Source"

(I dedicate this review to Murray, a huge musical influence in my life who, through hostile badgering and a good deal of musical mockery (the first day I met him, I was wearing a Beatles shirt; he greeted me with “Hey, how are you doing? I’ve heard a lot about you! The Beatles SUCK!”. Coulda been worse – the first time he met my sister, the last thing he said to her was “And buy some f…… AMERICAN shoes!”), reminded me that, at the end of the day, music is meant to be enjoyed; that the simpler pleasures are often the better ones, and that there is nothing better than a big fat Saturday night.)

So I’ve gone through 11 records so far – some good, some bad, some forgettable, some truly heinous (3 days and I still haven’t gotten the Iceberg stink offa me), but not one has been one I’d play all the way through again.

The next letter is “L”. And…

And then the skies parted, a powerful beam of light shown down, & what seemed to be a ethereal choir purred in the background – and for the first time in what seems an eternity my cold cold heart smiled & touched a nerve of inner peace as the needle lurched into “Can’t You Do Anything Right?” This is the Lazy Cowgirls. This is no nonsense rock and roll. This is awesome.

Pat Todd is the singer, and a little guy. I’ve always had an affinity for diminutive rock singers (except for that damn Davy Jones: his Cockney entrails would look glorious on my garden spade. His funeral, my trial), maybe because as a whole they suffer from the “small man big mouth” syndrome, which may not work that well in real life, but it can be wildly effective for rock music. Short singers with powerful voices are great. (If they are balding, like Mr. Todd, even better). (If they are short, balding, and German, like Klaus Meine of the Scorpions, even beyond better.) (If they are short, balding, German, and FAT, like the handsomely monikered Udo Dirksheider of Accept, they are the best (whenever I get a high score on old arcade games, I still use “UDO” as my initials. I don’t have any Accept albums, though – they are terrible. “Balls to the Wall”, indeed.) Pat sings, roars, & snarles, and sounds like he’s about to jump off the record and pummel you like you’re one of those inflatable cartoon characters (the Schmoo, maybe?) that have the heavy base that makes it keep bouncing back upright no matter how often you're hit. The Lazy Cowgirls will batter you, but you WILL keep bouncing back up. Willingly.

The band is your standard 3 piece guitar-bass-drums, and is sloppy as sin, but close enough for rock and roll. The only thing lazy about this record is the production, which is barely one step beyond pushing play-&-record on your boombox (except for the ludicrously overdubbed guitar solos, which sound like they were recorded in a different state). And I have no idea which Cowgirl is doing the primary backing vocals (all four are credited with vocals), but they are hysterically classic; the perfect Grover Gill sneer to Pat’s Scott Farkus bellow.

They don’t play punk; they play high energy rock and roll. All these songs are so so SO great - I wouldn’t skip over a one of them. There are 3 covers: unhinged versions of “Yakety Yak” & “Justine” (don’t know who’s playing saxophone on these 2, but all those times they skipped practice to get drunk did them a world of good), plus the most incredible, the most wild-eyed, the greatest version of Jim Reeves’ “Heartache” ever recorded. The originals are equally good – like a slower Ramones (though not by much) with a MUCH better lead singer. And “Goshdarn Bottle” (title cleaned up for the children out there – hi kids!) is the greatest argument FOR alcoholism ingrained onto vinyl.


Verdict: I dare you to listen to the Lazy Cowgirls & still believe that ANYTHING better ever came out of Indiana. If you do, you’re welcome to your own opinion, which, unfortunately, is wrong.
Video: there isn’t a lot of Lazy Cowgirls footage available, but this is Pat Todd’s current band (the Rank Outsiders) from last year, and that guy still rocks

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