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Jason And The Scorchers Wildfires & Misfires

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Friday, November 22, 2002 @ 3:59 PM


(Courageous Chicken/Yep Roc)

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Let me get this out of the way up front -- right alongside the Supersuckers, Jason and the Scorchers are the best country-tinged hard rock band ever to grace a stage. Taking the twang of Hank Williams, the crunch of the Sex Pistols and the power of AC/DC, Jason Ringenberg the boys rocked pretty goddamn hard throughout the '80s and '90s and are still around today in some way, shape or form to prove it.

Wildfires & Misfires collects the best of the their b-sides, live cuts and unreleased gems into one mammoth disc and is a must for all fans of this underrated act. Here we get raw and rockin' demos of classics like "Absolutely Sweet Marie" (one of the best Dylan covers of all time), "Shop It Around," "If Money Talks," and "Los Highway" alongside straight up country numbers such as "Gospel Plow," "Long Black Veil" and "The Slow Train That Never Ends."

Guitarists can rejoice in hearing Scorchers shredder Warren Hodges trade licks with the great Link Wray and Georgia Satellites axe-man Rick Richards on some choice live cuts, while Jason leads us through some tender acoustic tunes, with "Fallen Angel" and "Jimmie Rogers' Last Blue Yodel" being two of the stronger ones.

The real treats though are all the unreleased balls out rockers, which just go to prove my theory that, despite their "country" vibe, this band was among the most hard rockin' the '80s had to offer. "Pork Salad Annie" rips with pure punk fury, while "Don't Stop Doin'" sounds like the aforementioned Satellites if they snorted an 8-ball of coke before tape rolled. "Too Much Too Young" has a terrific Angus-sounding riff, "Break Open The Sky" is just balls out metal (albeit with a yodeling lead singer), while "Window Town" careens into early Tom Petty territory.

"Ruby Take Your Love To Town" and "Cappuccino Rosie" are perfect examples of how these guys blend Nashville twang with Stonesy swagger and arena rock thunder. It's a powerful concoction and it's a wonder more bands haven't cited these cats as an influence considering their sound is so common today. Just ask Nashville Pussy, the Supersuckers, Ryan Adams, or Hank III about Jason and the Scorchers and they're likely to blush and go, "Oh man, I stole all my shit from those guys. They are the best…the best…" And they are.

* * * * 1/2


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