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Down-n-dirty Southern
rock & roll satisfies

J Roddy Walston & The Business - J Roddy Walston & The Business
(Fairfax / Vagrant Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 1st, 2010
J Roddy Walston & The Business

Review by Tony Bonyata

Seems there are a lot of music acts today emulating the southern sounds and swagger of The Band. And while this also holds true for the Chattanooga, TN -based musician J Roddy Walston and his backing band The Business, these four guys have left their mason jars of sarsaparillas to warm on the front porch in favor of parading through town on the back of a flatbed truck swilling straight from the moonshine jug and shouting at the top of their lungs. The music on their recently released self-titled full-length is steeped in an unpasteurized brand of southern rock that channels the raucous and dangerous sounds of rock & roll in its tantrum-throwing infancy.

The album opens with Walston delivering a boogie-woogie piano line straight out of New Orleans' Ninth Ward on the rocking "Don't Break The Needle" before The Business lit the powderkeg with a thundering rhythm section that has just enough slop left over to toss into the pigpen. The howling intensity continues to build through the spastic good-old-boy rock & roll of "Full Growing Man," "Used To Do" and the pedal-to-the-metal thump of "Don't Get Old." They even manage to throw in some of the stomp of glam-rock on the loud-n-proud "I Don't Wanna Hear It," before letting it all hang out on the bump-and-grind rocker "Uh Oh Rock & Roll," complete with beefy '70s hard-rock guitar riffs, finger-bleeding piano pounding and Walston's impassioned hoarse voice crying atop a rickety soapbox. It's not until the inebriated swing of "Pigs & Pearls" stumbles from the speakers, however, that the spirit of The Band is clearly in focus. It's a loving tip of the hat to one of the greatest acts to successfully wed Americana and rock-n-roll. Walston even tones down his raspy growls and yelps on this number to pay homage to The Band's drummer and singer Levon Helm's salt-of-the-earth vocal delivery.

This music on this record is guaranteed to throw any party into overdrive. Just make sure to lock up the whiskey cabinet though, because once you put these rock & roll instigators in charge it's bound to get ugly.

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