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Various Artists:
A Benefit for Truth & Justice: Free The West Memphis 3
Koch Records

 


This compilation is a benefit for the three prisoners known as the West Memphis Three. The basic story is three young boys were brutally murdered and three teens were charged with the crime based primarily on their dress and their tastes in music and literature, not physical evidence. For the entire story about what they are and why such a compilation exist go to the website(www.wm3.org). I won't go into the case anymore as this is a music review and it would be silly for me to just cut and past from the website. That being said this is a pet project of Supersucker bassist/vocalist Eddie Spaghetti. What we have here is a collection of outlaws and rebels of sorts. It's a damned interesting collection too.

The old county/folk stylings of Steve Earl start things off with "The Truth." Banjo pickin' what we have hear and it's not too hard to imagine Steve Earl sitting in jail singing about the jailer being the real prisoner. The energy level gets pumped up when Rocket From the Crypt comes roaring out of the gates. True rock and roll baby. that's what the rocket's delivering, with horns even?! Horns of the Devil, watch out. A brief Jello Biafra enterlude about the case then the happy girls in L7 throw hot lead at you in "Boys in Black." L7 Fan?

It's even got backmasking. The Supersuckers take it down under, to Australia, not Hell, for a cover of You Am I's "Heavy Heart." It's a perfect Supersuckers song. I can't get enough of that stuff.

It seems only fitting that there be a reggae protest song so Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" gets some special treatment by Joe Strummer and the Long Beach All Stars. I've never been a big Tom Waits Fan but if you're into Waits then here ya go "Rains on Me" falls between a Jimmy Cliff cover and an X cover. An X cover? yep and it's an interesting one too. John Doe and Exene Cervenka's poor Girl gets an all-star send-up with Eddie Vedder fronting the Supersuckers. It's a wonderful version of the song.

There are a couple odd bits too. Zeke's somewhat faithful version of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" seems a little out of place and Nashville Pussy's version of "Highway to Hell" is just wrong. I still have not forgiven Kelley Deal for the lousy Breeders performance I had the misfortune of catching in Austin several years ago but her cover of Pantera's "Fucking Hostile" is very cool. The John Doe thing does an X cover too. It works too. Hell, it's better right? I mean it's his song. One of the cooler though somber moments is Mark Lanegan's

Untitled Lullaby. Lanegan's the singer for Screaming trees. He's backed up here by ex-Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd, ex-GnR guitarist Duff McKagen, ex-Dinosaur Jr bassist Matt Johnson, and industrial drummer king Bill Reiflin.The best is saved for last with Fear Factory's Burton C. bell doing an eye-opening spoken word with a brand new Killing Joke song. It's a damned good cut too. If this is a taste of the next album. count me in. Paul Raven is back from his Prong ventures and is back in camp K.J. There's enough good stuff on this compilation to warrant a purchase even without just cause. it's an interesting collection if nothing else. I rarely like all the songs on any compilation that I didn't record myself but this one is pretty damned good. I have a felling this isn't to going to be an easy one to find but should you see it and you are a Supersucker, X, or Killing Joke fan pick this bad boy up.

--Chadbo

Track Listing:

  1. Steve Earl - The Truth
  2. Rocket From The Crypt - Wrong and Important
  3. L7 - Boys in Black
  4. Supersuckers - Heavy Heart
  5. Joe Strummer + The Long Beach All-Stars- The Harder They Come
  6. Tom Waits - Rains on Me
  7. Supersuckers with Eddie Vedder - Poor Girl
  8. Tony Scalzo - Indicted
  9. Zeke Wrathchild
  10. Kelley Deal - Fucking Hostile
  11. The John Doe Thing - Hwy 5
  12. Mark Lanegan - Untitled Lullaby
  13. Murder City Devils She
  14. Nashville Pussy - Highway to Hell
  15. Killing Joke - Our Last Goodbye


Mike Doughty



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