Down to the Promised Land: Five Years of Bloodshot Records

Down to the Promised Land: Five Years of Bloodshot Records (Bloodshot)

Record Reviews

Down to the Promised Land: Five Years of Bloodshot Records

(Bloodshot)

Has it really been five years since Bloodshot loosed their brand of honky-skronk on an unsuspecting world? From high atop the Bloodshot World Headquarters in midtown Chicago, the label started with a scant 7-inch from Moonshine Willy, followed by releases from the Waco Brothers and Scroat Belly that got the beer-soaked ball rolling. Bloodshot also deserves props for starting its Soundies branch, rereleasing material by Hank Thompson, Pee Wee King, and others for traditional country connoisseurs. The label has always excelled at pulling together compilations like For a Life of Sin, Straight Outta Boone County, and numerous others, so a sprawling 40-song, 2-CD set of all unreleased material to commemorate its anniversary only seems natural. The best part is, there's hardly a bum song to be found anywhere on here. The label pulled in contributions from acts not usually found on Bloodshot, like Bare Jr., Giant Sand, the Supersuckers, the Hollisters, and even Cornell Hurd. The Yayhoos, led by ex-Georgia Satellite Dan Baird, kicks off Disc 1 with "Oh! Chicago," a straight-out rocker that kicks like mad mule, followed by Alejandro Escovedo's haunting cover of Mick Jagger's "Evening Gown." From there, things continue in the usual irreverent Bloodshot way, and there's so much good stuff here, it's hard to know where to start (or stop). The label has always strained the boundaries of what's considered "Americana" or "alt.country," and this disc is no exception. Robbie Fulks, who seems to get better and more twisted all the time, kicks off the second disc with a happy-birthday to the label that could almost pass for Leon Redbone. Not to be outdone, the Unholy Trio puts in a Neanderthal-country cover of Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise," and the Waco Brothers give "Baba O'Riley" a retrofit. The copious liner art includes a number of pix from SXSW Yard Dog parties past, including the familiar Beatle Bob doing a frantic frug and freaking freely onstage with the Waco Brothers. It's a hard business running a label, and no small feat to pull together a staggering 40 songs for a comp like this, let alone 40 good ones. Happy birthday, Bloodshot. Ya done good.

****

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