THE OUTLAW DEATH LAGER DRINKERS FROM HELL - The Band Who Shot Liberty Valance (Turkeyneck Records)
OK Casey, here's the Australian version: Before there was grow-up and sophisticated country rock - optimised for trans-border success but made acceptable for local consumption with the insertion of mildly-recognisable cultural reference points - there was this thing called

The Johnnys, Tex Deadly and the Dum Dums and the early Beasts of Bourbon were obvious exponents, crossbreeding with overseas variants like Jeffrey Lee along the way, but the output of (then) seedy Melbourne seasaide suburb St Kilda was an altogether different ball-game.

And so to The Band That Shot Liberty Valance, whose forebears (The Corpse Grinders and I Spit On Your Gravy) were as much about excess as success. Coming out of Sin Kilda with all the grace of a hooker at an end-of-season gang-bang with a charge card facility, TBWSLV were one ginormous pisstake (with emphasis on the piss.) Self-confessed lush and vocalist Fred Negro was matched can-for-can by his band with the singer's love for getting bent out of shape matched only by his subsequent penchant for getting naked and getting it on with, er, pieces of fruit.

When it came to lyrics, Negro was (is) a lyricist with a cartoonist's eye with off-the-wall songs ("Running Beer", "The Legend of Football Mouth") about people in his street or at his local. TBWSLV were competent enough country-punkers, mixing their set with desecrations of familiar standards.

Which sums up "The Outlaw Death Lager Drinkers From Hell". While the pleasant plunking of "Giddy-Up Gee Gee" is positively tranquil by comparison to what's going on around it, the carve-ups of "Ghost Riders In The Sky" ("Gravibiillies In The Sky") and "I Fought the Law" (aka " I Drank The Slab") crackle with all the fury of a bunch of yobs when the landlord's called "last drinks" an hour early.

These punks played a mean shuffle - and a Bo Diddley beat, when it suited them, as evidenced by "No Bloody Body Believes Me" whose story of an encounter with a touring rock and roll original is amplified in Fred Negro's lewdly witty liner notes.

If I don't miss my guess this is a re-issue of the album that major label Virgin pressed in 1988. Whether the rights reverted to the band is immaterial. Cowpunk is not where they or any other major label is at these days. Fred Negro would go onto to other things (cartooning, The Fuck Fucks and The Twits) and Virgin would produce the Spice Girls. Guess who got the raw end of the pineapple (literally)? More power to Brisbane label Turkeyneck for sticking their, er, necks out.

Charmless, funny (although ultimately short on material), "The Outlaw Death Lager Drinkers From Hell" is a fun hayride that'll sustain a night ion with the folks. Just don't let Granny line dance to it. - The Barman




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