Swinging from the Chains of Love

Swinging from the Chains of Love

by Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
     
 

Considering the amount of quality music the ad hoc Canadian singer/songwriter "supergroup" has released under the Blackie & the Rodeo Kings moniker -- five albums, including a double from 1996-2007 -- this 14-song, 55-minute set should have used the extra 20 minutes of its CD playing time to better advantage. The trio -- Colin Linden, See more details below

Overview

Considering the amount of quality music the ad hoc Canadian singer/songwriter "supergroup" has released under the Blackie & the Rodeo Kings moniker -- five albums, including a double from 1996-2007 -- this 14-song, 55-minute set should have used the extra 20 minutes of its CD playing time to better advantage. The trio -- Colin Linden, Tom Wilson, and Stephen Fearing, all solo artists with well-regarded catalogs of their own -- began life by covering the songs of journeyman Canadian songwriter Willie P. Bennett before expanding into original material. At the very least, the tune that provided the unique name for their outfit could have been included in this recap of highlights. Regardless, this is a solid overview of the threesome's best work, with a few rarities tossed in. It was released at an auspicious time, just after the death of Bennett and veteran keyboardist Richard Bell, and not surprisingly, the album is dedicated to both. The opening "Stoned" was a minor hit and sets the stage nicely with its talk-sung vocals, bluesy feel, and rootsy mentality that recalls Shawn Mullins and quotes Warren Zevon. Although the sound leans toward the less-rocking side of Tom Petty, it's obviously the Band, with its three-pronged vocal attack, that has most inspired BARK. They make that evident both in the extensive liner notes (19 pages) and songs such as a cover of the Band's "The Caves of Jericho" (recorded after Robbie Robertson left) and "Vale of Tears" that shimmers with the dark, swampy undercurrents that informed Bob Dylan's backing outfit's best work. All three BARK singers have a similar, dusky vocal approach even though they don't harmonize as much as you'd expect, preferring to trade leads. Tracks such as "Remedy" chug along with a lazy yet insistent vibe and singalong choruses that make you think it must be because their albums were difficult to obtain in the States that they have such a low profile in America. A tough, ragged cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" that sets the serial killer lyrics to taut, overdriven drums is rescued from an obscure Cash tribute album, and the twangy title track hints at the deep country at the core of BARK's influences. Fearing's "Heaven for a Lonely Man" is a lost gem; its appearance here is a reminder of how talented and underappreciated these guys have been. Perhaps the next 11 years will result in the trio finding the commercial crossover audience that has thus far eluded this classy side project.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/11/2008
Label:
True North
UPC:
0620638051528
catalogNumber:
80515
Rank:
236791

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Stoned  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  2. 49 Tons  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  3. Water or Gasoline  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  4. Swinging from the Chains of Love  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  5. Heaven for a Lonely Man  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  6. Remedy  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  7. Folsom Prison Blues  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  8. Sometimes It Comes So Easy  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  9. The Caves of Jericho  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  10. If I Catch You Crying  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  11. Vale of Tears  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  12. Lean on Your Peers  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  13. White Line  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings
  14. Andrew's Waltz  -  Blackie & the Rodeo Kings

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blackie & the Rodeo Kings   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Greg Calbi   Mastering,Remastering
Stephen Fearing   Composer
Colin Linden   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Jim Weider   Composer
Fred Eaglesmith   Composer
Rob Bowman   Liner Notes
Colin Cripps   Composer
Janice Powers   Composer
Willie P. Bennett   Composer
John R. Cash   Composer
Tom Wilson   Composer
Bell   Composer
White   Composer
Simon   Composer
Linden   Composer
Helm   Composer
Gordon   Composer
Wilson   Composer

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