The Janglers: Sweet ProvidenceSince the early 80's, when L.A.'s Blasters and Long Island's Stray Cats made it hip to be retro we've had tons and tons of roots rock and neo-billy, all of it smokin' and drinkin' music with more than a nod at authenticity. Cleveland's Janglers have come up with a new take on American roots, copping not from rock's originators but from the first great synthesis of old vibes and new music, the Band. Their debut album marks them as a tremendously talented band to watch. From the beginning to end this record is imbued with the spirit of "Music from Big Pink" and "The Band". The stops and starts of the shuffling "Easy Louis," the New Orleans piano rag opening of "Your Turn To Burn," the thoroughly bent Dixieland march style of "Bourbon Rain," the organ swirls of the cool, breezy, and bluesy "Sweet Providence" are all brilliant recreations of Band style American music. Nothing as simple as roots rock, this is sophisticated and remarkably studio smooth stuff. The songs are well writen and depend on emotion, not energy, to get across (a decidely pre-punk strategy).
Not that the Janglers are nothing more than a Band tribute group. They pull
out some straight country-boogie on the funny "My Way Of Thinking" and make
their guitars sound like a train on "Railroad Cat." The burbling guitar
leads throughout have nothing at all to do with Robbie Robertson, and even
more promising are the slightly strange "So In The Pink" (which uses a melody
like a Russian folksong) and the gorgeous love song "All I'm Living To Do,"
which glows like the setting sun. But it comes as no suprise that the album
is dedicated to Richard Manuel, the Band's pianist who committed suicide in
1986. There's no higher praise than saying it's a fitting tribute.
Sweet Providence - The Janglers - 1988 - Janglers Discs & Tapes, CD1021
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