HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Hip-Pocket Music is sometimes proud and sometimes embarrassed to be forced to own up to the release of "Trailer Trash from Hell" -- the debut CD by Ginger Snapp and the Snapp-Tones
Ginger Snapp and the Snapp-Tones ain't much to look at and their electric country, jug band, folkie, Depression music CD has few commercial possibilities, but we at Hip-Pocket said "What the heck" and released it anyway.
The deciding factor was how ungainly they look onstage with bass player, six-foot-five Heartland Greg Lahrman towering over poor five-foot-four Ginger whose real name we have sworn not to reveal.
Jersey Paul, the guitar player, song writer, recording engineer, mixer and masterer, when questioned about the band's Hoboken, N.J., origins, frequently, eloquently and belligerently bellows: "Who says there ain't no country in New Jersey. Heck, we have a backyard and the backyard has a tree and the tree has a squirrel and the dog spends his days chasing the squirrel back up that tree. Tell me if that ain't country. Now, shut up and see if the waitress will comp us a round if we promise to be quiet"
We're not allowed to mention that he's actually from New York, but New York Paul just didn't have much of an alt-country ring to it.
Last but not least is Mac the Drummer who sits patiently on Jersey Paul's desk awaiting his next assignment. Please don't tell Mac that he has been replaced by a real human drummer since the CD was released and Jersey Paul has been eyeing a new Mac dual processor G5.
GINGER'S VERSION OF THE SNAPP-TONES STORY
Ginger Snapp was born last year in the imagination of Paul Kern, as he and wife Ruth drove from their home in Hoboken, N.J., throughout the South.
With Stops on their American roots-music road trip including Jamboree USA at the Capitol Theater in Wheeling, W. Va., a bunch of bars in Nashville, the Rum Boogie Cafe in Memphis and THE crossroads in Clarksdale, Miss., where the devil chickened out and wouldn't make a deal, they started hatching a plan for a Roots/Americana band.
After nearly two weeks with a choice of horrible Nashville music or hell and damnation Jesus stations on the car radio, their minds addled by too much liquor, fried food, and no salads or other roughage in their diets, they began riffing on a nonexistent country singer who embodied every catastrophe known to befall middle-aged dimming country stars. However, it took a plate of fried dill pickles (really not so bad) and a couple of Coronas in a rustic ribs joint near Nashville to inspire the name Ginger Snapp. Snapp-Tones, was well, a snap.
While driving through White Bluff, Tenn., they pulled over in their silver VW Golf with the Garden State plates for lunch at a shack called the Pit Stop, which had two huge barbecue drums smoldering out in front. When they ordered two barbecue sandwiches and two beers, the owner clucked apologetically, and explained jutting his chin in the direction of the baseball diamond across the highway that a town ordinance forbade the sale of alcohol within 500 feet of a ball field.
"Is that so", joked Jersey Paul in his best Brooklyn accent, changing his beverage order to iced tea. "Where we come from, it's illegal to sell barbecue if you don't sell beer. In fact, they have detectives who go around making sure that all barbecue places also sell beer. The owner and his assistant, who had only a few teeth between them, guffawed loudly at this.
As they drove away after eating the sandwiches (excellent, by the way), Jersey Paul turned to Ruth and said: You can't sell barbecue if you don't sell beer ... Write that down. Sounds like a song to me." Thus was begat, as they say in Tennessee, the first song for the debut CD.
A year and a half and six more original songs (plus three tricked out versions of traditional tunes) later, and Paul had found his own voice: Strands of Brooklyn folkie via Jersey Shore blues-rock twisted into an electrified bundle of Citybilly fun. Its influences are many, but its sonic fingerprint is utterly unique.
The only problem ... Jersey Paul can growl great, but his singing leaves a little to be desired. In stepped Ruth, transfigured into Ginger Snapp, to sing and lend some fiddle licks (plus a few cello lines, thanks to her classical music background) to Paul's guitar work. After a few months, Greg Lahrman whose straight-ahead style is his Heartland birthright joined in on bass and the Snapp-Tones came into the world.
For questions or comments or the laying on of curses and hexes please contact:
Jersey Paul Kern
304 Third St.
Jersey City, N.J.