You know Alabama 3, whether you know it or not, because
you haven't been living under a rock for the past 15 years
right? They are the groovy band responsible for that great theme
song used in The Sopranos. That's right, the one you crank
up in your car any time you hear it because it rocks so darn good.
Well, the band has been around for a long time, doing what they
creating groovy tunes with hints of soul and funk
and gospel bedded in a deep holler of Americana and techno. They're
and the "greatest hits" collection Hits
And Exit Wounds is a short introduction to exactly why the
band is so great. I haven't heard their last two releases, as
they were never brought stateside, but the first two records were
stables in my younger listening catalog. The unique blending of
seemingly disparate styles is what draws me to the cocaine gospel
of Larry Love and D. Wayne so much
grooves don't hurt none, either.
The collection kicks off in high gear with "Hypo Full Of
Love" and "Woke Up This Morning," the perfect introductions
to the way Alabama 3 does business
is the remix used for The Sopranos, so it is familiar to
most all the world, and "Hypo
" is a great way
to realize your stereo just isn't quite loud enough. "Hello
I'm Johnny Cash" takes country guitar lines and mates them
with a bouncing electronic rhythm that is reminiscent of Cash's
work with U2 on the Zooropa album - it's a great
little story song and a nice tribute to Cash, including many references
to the man in black's own work; worth the price of admission on
its own. More songs from the debut Exile On Coldharbour Lane
are included, including the righteously amazing "Speed Of
The Sound Of Loneliness" minus the long outro that was on
the album version, and the tongue in cheek "You Don't Danse
To Tekno Anymore." The band runs through an interestingly
slack-blues version of Jerry Reed's "Amos Moses"
that adds a new dimension to their sound, while the dark techno
of "Too Sick To Pray" balances the scales. The acoustic
guitar base of "Woody Guthrie" is perfect for the anti-everything
preaching that goes on, which is in stark contrast to the heavy-handed
rhythms of tracks like "Mansion On The Hill." Low-beat
style takes over on the relaxed cool of "Sad Eyed Lady Of
The Low-Life" and the band gets skanky on the Orbital
remix of the fun "Ska'd For Life." Finally, exactly
as it should, the album wraps up with the band's excellent low-key
take on "Peace In The Valley", which is in stark contrast
to the techno version on their debut
this version is all
acoustic guitars and organic drums in a very country style. Beautiful.
Here's the thing I've never understood. How Randy and
the boys ever thought folks would confuse this music with Alabama's
is a mystery
so here in the States we get A3 albums
rather than Alabama 3. No big deal, really
but next time
you talk to Randy Owen, let him know we don't approve.
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