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Sunday, 24 November 2013

JAMES KING AND THE LONE WOLVES - Article / Review / Download.

With all the current media interest about JFK, I was recently moved to play James King and The Lone Wolves rather brilliant Texas Lullaby. I didn't really fancy blowing my head off with the Dead Kennedys, I was more in the mood for something slightly more laid back and mellow. Back in the early eighties James King and The Lone Wolves were jangly swamp blues rockers; Mean, moody and menacing, they could have been contenders, but tales of drunken and violent excesses and a no compromise attitude meant major record companies were afraid of the big bad wolf and went for the easy soft options like Lloyd Cole and The Commotions and Aztec Camera instead, and mainstream success eluded the Lone Wolves. The band split in 1985 and their legend faded into obscurity, or did it?

Anyway to cut a story short, after playing the 5 track Texas Lullaby 12”, a record I've held dear since 1984, I did an internet search on James King and The Lone Wolves, and found out that my radar had missed the fact that the band had reformed in 2011, to play a couple of tribute gigs and haven't looked back due to the positive reaction they received, they also started recording, and the four track Pretty Blue Eyes E.P was released earlier this year, available as a digital download from Amazon.

The opening track Pretty Blue Eyes, recalls the sound of the Velvet Underground, while Fun Patrol is a neo Rockabilly rumble, a re-working of an old song of theirs, now with added harmonica. Guitars reverberate as James spits out some of the wickedest lyrics ever written; “Would you crawl on broken glass for me?....Would you blow your fucking brain out with a gun for me?” Even Beatles Die is a swirling and sweeping statement with Thunders style guitar licks. Happy Home finds feedback infused guitars dropping in and out creating an atmospheric anthem of alienation  “I don't want to crawl in your world I want to take a walk in mine.”

Has age mellowed James King and The Lone Wolves? No! They sound far darker and deeper on their walk to hell. The off kilter country vibe is still there, but there's more of a chugging and chopping three pronged guitar attack going on behind James's distinctive drawl which is akin to Iggy Pop, Johnny Thunders and Lou Reed having a fight on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. If the devil has all the best tunes, he got another four missing from his collection.

The Pretty Blue Eyes E.P is a haunting, emotional, intense and uneasy listen at times, the very essence of Rock'N'Roll; a groove that moves, an impassioned howl while wrestling with demons. These are twisted and tortured tunes of anguish. Tales of emotional turmoil and torment, broody and buoyant songs to drown in. This is life with all its beauty and ugliness affirming stuff! Single of the year? Definitely! Can't wait to hear their reworked Texas Lullaby which they are in the process of recording and mixing at the moment.

While I was on my internet travels I also found a couple of videos on youtube, from which I've ripped the audio (Thanx to the original uploaders) for your enjoyment. Here's Happy Home, Even Beatles Die and Fun Patrol. Live @ The Glasgow Glasshouse in March 2013, and there's Fly Away and Fun Patrol live on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1985. Enjoy! or Destroy!

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