The Sandspurs were a Southern-rock bar band in Birmingham, Alabama, that often posed as a “blues” band to land gigs, to stand out from the guitar-strummin’ Emo bands from the suburbs, and to score some support and press from the preservation societies. Although the ruse didn’t work, da Spur Boyz had fun (mostly), landed a few high-dollar gigs, and soaked up a lotta life in the Ham from 2002 to 2006. The band broke up when Tim – front man, financier, and general manager – landed a better day job in Texas.
They left behind this live and rather cheap-ass CD. There are other free MP3s and video clips at their website (www.thesandspurs.com) but this CD really conveys the vibe and the life of da Spurz at their best.
On this CD you will hear:
• The band playin’ their heart out at a club that catered to the ex-frat boys and sorority girls out of T-town and Auburn. Hauled in good money while bar security walked around wearin’ headsets and dressed like jack-booted thugs. Never felt safer.
• Dead silence after killer arrangements. Seriously. Hear it in first track: They segue from a steaming version of “Empty Arms Motel” into the vamp from “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” and end crisply – then you hear the locals sit there like they were watchin’ some National Geographic special on cable after eating too much Mexican food.
• Random howls for “Freebird.” Maybe the Southern thing happened and the beer kicked in. You’ll hear it in the breaks, before a song, after one, etc. Count ‘em.
• The inexplicable, ubiquitous exuberance after a display of ZZToppish slide guitar. Never can figure this one out – right after the take of “Treat Her Right” a few channeled their inner Duke of Hazzard. (Memo to the band: Order more slide).
• The adulation at the end of the night from the women dancin’ down front. Hearing the cry “We love you, Sandspurs!” made it all worthwhile. It’s there. (They said they were from Seattle).
Two dates later the band lost this gig and spent the remainder of its life in seedier joints. Songs have been written about some of those places. They lost a gig at the Oasis bar when the owner complained the band didn’t bring in as much as this kid from Hoover – some guy named Taylor Hicks had a following that drank more beer than da Spurz (the video clips at the website were made at the Oasis). Marty heard the band that same night at the Oasis and cancelled his bookings with ‘em (groused that they were too loud). The band lost another gig when management took issue with Tim’s occasional onstage draw from his flask.
In due time, one band mate was, uh, “dismissed” for being a bit “out of touch” during gigs (e.g., random blasts of notes in various keys, faltering gear, disagreements about song selection), and another had to make increasingly frequent “geographic relocations” that necessitated an stand-in until certain elements of his world could seek out its own stroke and pacify in it. Great music still occurred and new friends were made (for example, they met Amy Rigby who said they were the only band with the balls to cover her obscure but hilarious “I Hate Every Bone in Her Body But Mine” – email her and get her original version). They even added a full-time harp player and landed an interview on the local NPR. Yet they were pretty much faxing it over by 2006.
Check out the website for more details, pics and downloads. Nobody is making money from the sales, but send an email if you like the music or, perhaps, take some particular interest in the original works.
And, yeah, the things below were written about ‘em. They're legit. So enjoy the music and smile for the guys who had the good fortune to share the camaraderie of bar band life, ringing ears, and the cast of celestial spirits that passed in and out of the juke joint and back into the night of early morning.
"Just think of good ole Southern blues-fueled boogie with a little grit and soul ...the original material serve as our favorites...these guys really smoke!!" Music City Blues Society Bluesletter, January 2005, Nashville
"...combines all the excitement of a live CD with almost studio quality sound balance...Tim's guitar intro on "Blues for Monica" is superb....also does a great job on the harp...get out and see this local band." Magic City Blues News, January 2005, Birmingham
"..a nice touch of southern blues, a touch of Allman Brothers, some rocking boogie and all in all very surprising.. keep up the good work, this album has a special sound." Frank Van Engelen-Bluesiana Radio, Purmerend, The Netherlands
"...lots of great guitar work and a unique sound of their own" Fishermansblues, Markus Fischer, Osnabruecker Radio, Osnaburck, Germany
"..heard the samples, loved it and had to have more...great down home rockin' blues!!" LB, Cussetta GA
"..that guy is infestin' beyond the savanna..." JU, Seattle WA
"..had to run get my dancin' shoes..love it!" IT, Baltimore, MD
"..very well done..Tim sounds like Jim Morrison (I mean that as a compliment!)" GH, Chicago, IL
"..Tim grabbed me by the balls and wouldn't let go until I bought the CD" RV, Birmingham AL
"I couldn't find it for free on WinMX" MB, St. Louis, MO
"Tim's my cousin" SFS, Wildwood, FL