The Walking Rock Alphabet: A
Yes, I’m back. After a day off to soak my pour sore feet and calves, I made it out once again today. I did a lot of soul searching to figure out how I would handle this second round of alphabetical walks, and I think I have the perfect solution.
In some respects, what I decided isn’t much different than what I just finished. It is still going to be an alphabetical list, but instead of it being based on album title I am now using the band name for that daily pick.
But there’s one major change that I think I have to do to make this work. Sure, it would be really easy to keep picking my usual Replacements/Velvets/Huskers once again. Nope, this blog would be even more tedious than it already is if I was to do that.
Instead, I have decided to go deep. Very deep. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know many of you are sitting there shaking your heads. What I have been writing about is obscure to you. For the most part they weren’t household names, nor would they ever be featured on the American Music Awards (thank God).
In my circles, though, what you saw in the first round of the alphabet WERE the top of the heap. They were all acts that most of us would (and have) travelled hours to see, even if that trip meant we’d be sharing the floor space with only another couple dozen drones who made similar pilgrimages.
I need to challenge myself not just physically but in the writing department, so i’m going to try to pick really obscure acts. Many of them will be artists whose albums I haven’t actually made it completely through before that day’s jaunt. I can even see some new releases being thrown into the pot.
Today is a perfect example, and I probably should start off by stating how I discovered this artist. One of the great features of being a part of the Real Punk Radio Network is the behind the scenes sharing between all of us on air personalities. If I hear something on another show, or have discussed something in chat that seems intriguing, I can almost expect it to show up in my dropbox before the song is even over. People such as Drazzle, Jason Snyderman, Greg Lonesome, Tommer Unit, and others couldn’t be more open to sharing their treasures, and I’ve been turned on to so many great acts and albums over my two years doing shows.
My artist/album for the day is a perfect example. I believe it was during Snyderman’s Burrito Electrico Punk Rock Show that I first heard this strange cover of a Sex Pistols’ tune. Imagine “God Save the Queen” given a sort of Celtic twist, with mandolins and acoustic guitars driving the track.
I obviously needed to know what exactly I was hearing, and it turned out to be Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds. I’m sure 99.99% of you have never heard this group, but I bet you do know about Mr. Edmondson. Remember the great 80’s British sitcom The Young Ones? Edmondson played Vyvyan, the spiked orange haired “punk” whose denim jacket said “Very Metal” on the back.
Apparently, while on tour with a 2000’s version of The Bonzo Dog Doo-dah Band, a drunken Edmondson stumbled into a music store and walked out with a mandolin. After learning a few chords, he started teaching himself some of his favorite old punk rock songs, and ended up recruiting musicians to form The Bad Shepherds.
In 2009, they released their first album, Yan Tyan Thethera Metheral, which is today’s most interesting walking soundtrack. Besides the Pistols’ tune mentioned earlier, the album features the band’s unique Celtic folk rewriting of classic songs by The Clash, Talking Heads, Kraftwerk, Squeeze, Pil, and many others. Often, they even blend multiple songs together, such as the fantastic molding of the words and melody of “Teenage Kicks” with the musical backing of “Whiskey In the Jar”.
This album was a perfect choice to kick off this round. It fit every button I wanted to push - it was obscure, I had yet to actually get through the whole album, and I had a giant smile on my face the entire walk around the neighborhood. I hope every letter works out this well.