Once the laser beam starts tracking album opener "Drink in Her Hand," a fretgrinding mash-up of the Stones "Respectable" and the Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," there's not much to do as every hair on your body stands on end except throw up your hands and surrender. Jeremy White coughs up a lung, Mike Gavigan's guitar does the damage and leaves, and the engine room of bassist Frank Scimeca and drummer Robert Iezzi steer clear of the wreckage and tattoo a beat you can't ignore.
White's pipes make stops in Jagger (bump "The Way It Has to Be" up against "Faraway Eyes"), Greg Provost (Chesterfield Kings - "Hang Your Head"), and Jason Ringenberg ("Goin' Away") territory, but he may have a bigger thing to swing than all three put together. Gavigan, a walking reference book of sleazy twang, bends strings until his fingers cramp and bleed, and Dizzy Reed and Teddy Zig Zag Andreadis pound a combined 176 keys as if they're being paid by the note. Imagine if the New York Dolls abandoned the hooker slap for spurs and rawhide and Johnny Thunders for James Burton and you're getting warm.
"Bare Bones" sways with sozzled tales of whiskey, women, and the law, all delivered with enough gristle, bone, harp, hooks, and weepy lap steel guitar to make you forget about "Emotional Rescue," the Faces calling it a day back in 1975, and the grim reality that the entire faceless, painfully undefined internet generation couldn't come up with songs that breathe like these if you put a gun to its collective head. As modern civilization swirls down the commode, White and Gavigan may be the closest thing we'll ever get to the early 70's Glimmer Twins again before we're all choking on hoof dust from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Call ..em "throwbacks," but The Blessings are resolute in their mission to administer an unholy baptism - over Elvis Presley's grave - of plunk, grit, three chords, and what passes for the truth these days as they romp through a cemetery scattered with the ashes of Keith Richards (and whatever he didn't hoover up of his father's remains), Mick Taylor, Rick Price, Warner Hodges, and The Joneses. If you have to Google any of those references, chances are your idea of a party is an extra shot of vanilla flavoring in your morning coffee, in which case it may behoove you to steer clear of this beautiful mess.
"Bare Bones" brims with frisson, authority, scarves, torn denim, worn leather, and the faint but unmistakable whiff of opiates, an album that doesn't just stand up to repeated listening, but demands it.
Get your wallet out.
Record Review: The Blessings - "Bare Bones" (Basementboy Records) Shit kicking rock and roll. I'm not really sure why that is the description I apply to The Blessings and their debut album "Bare Bones" but it seems appropriate. Somewhat a cross between Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main Street Stones with early Black Crowes and Georgia Satellites, this CD is a great, honky tonk barrel ride of raunchy, boogie-woogie swamp rock (how's that for a description!). Hailing from Hollywood, the boys of The Blessings have some absolutely first rate, fun rock and roll on this album and they are also the authors of one of the greatest lines in a song when they sing in "Drink in Her Hand" "In the bar or all alone She knocks them back like she's George Jones" Just that line alone tells me that these guys know what rock and roll is all about. Have a listen and I know you'll agree with me. Great stuff. -The Rock and roll Report www.rockandrollreport.com