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Ironboss | Roll Out the Rock | Singles 1995 2001 | review | rock | Lollipop
Roll Out the Rock: Singles 1995-2001 (Underdogma)
by Brian Varney
Two full-lengths, a live album, and a singles comp in a year with the promise of another full-length in a few months? Call Ironboss what you will, do not call 'em stoners or slackers, especially if the dump-working, NASCAR-driving lead singer is in the immediate vicinity.
Ironboss delivers a very potent brand of Southern-yahoo power rock and they do a fine job of it. Fuck all the shtick-riddled former punk rockers who paid $40 on the Internet for their "vintage" Molly Hatchet tees and stumble around 'cause they haven't yet learned how to walk in their brand-new cowboy boots, Ironboss are the real, non-ironic thing.
Hung Like Horses finds the band broadening their horizons a bit. While heavy Southern rock is still the main flavor, there are bits of strangeness popping up throughout, such as the odd, off-beat, almost Beefheartian squeal of the main riff on opener "Jig Is Up," the muffled Waitsian back porch squalor on the improvised "Back When I Was a Miner," and the fairly faithful (though beefed up, natch) cover of psych classic "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" (with backward guitar and bells and everything!).
Fine as those moments are, it's the bitch-slapping heavies like the aforementioned talk-box-crazed "Pussy on the Corner," the evil, slow-building "Low Man on the Totem Pole," and the infectiously poppy "Hi-Ridin' Babe" (whose opening riff is unabashedly stolen from AC/DC) that keeps bringing me back. Sure, anyone with a Marshall amp and a decent guitar can form a heavy rock band, but only a handful are able to marry memorable tunes and tight arrangements to the volume generated by those raw materials and create something that'll stick to the ever-lessening lump of gray matter in your smoke-addled brain.
Roll Out the Rock: Singles 1995-2001 is, as the title implies, a collection of tracks from singles and compilation appearances, plus alternate/demo versions and otherwise unreleased tracks. Covers include "Rumblin' Man" (Link Wray by way of Cactus, recently covered by Milligram on Sucking the '70s), "Motorcycle Man" (Saxon), "Whole Lotta Rosie" (AC/DC, featuring an unusual but effective banjo intro), "Everybody Wants Some" (Van Halen), and "Train Kept A-Rollin'" (originally written by Tiny Bradshaw, but recorded for Small Stone's Aerosmith tribute). All of them are pretty darned good, though the Van Halen track is probably the best fit for these guys.
Other tracks include alternate versions of album tracks, like a demo version of "My Jesus" and a fake live version of "Motherfucker." For the hardcore geeks in the audience, the folks who want to have every recorded shred by the band in question, Roll Out the Rock will bring a jagged shard of heaven crashing home. The rest of y'all can merely check out a generous helping (21 tracks) of songs – some good, some great, some maybe not – by an awfully damned good rock band that you should know more about than you do.
(PO Box 5070 Fredericksburg, VA 22403)