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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gun Club's ghostly fire - a must-own lost classic.,
This review is from: Miami CD (Audio CD)Jeffrey Lee Pierce's haunted vision is given full rein on this oft-underrated follow up to the better known 'fire of love'. All the psychoses of the previous record, the punked-up swamp blues, the great melodies dolorously sung and the Bo Diddley rhythms are present and correct. The sound echoes across a century of American music and is a precursor to the Detroit sound (Jack White is a fan). Numbers by the Carter Family and Crredence are given re-workings that hint at the desperation and lawlessness of their Southern setting but it is Pierce's ghostly 'Mother Of Earth'replete with keening slide guitar and the frantic 'Devil In The Woods' that typify the sound of this record.
If you like the White Stripes, the Detroit Cobras, Robert Johnson, the Cramps et. al. then you will love this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purest expression of Jeffrey Lee Pierce's genius,
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This review is from: Miami (Audio CD)I bought this album on its original release, having been seduced by 'Fire of Love', Gun Club's searing debut, and on the first spin it immediately established itself as one of my favourite all-time LPs, one of those precious suites of songs that connects on the deepest of levels. Over 30 years later, and I see no reason to revise my opinion. Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Rob Ritter, Ward Dotson and Terry Graham (yes, this was a band, not just JLP) followed the vicious adrenaline rush of 'Fire of Love' with something altogether deeper, more personal and complete. More mature. Over the years, the production has been criticised for a lack of aggression. Maybe true, but for my money the sound fits the songs and performances like a glove. The vocals - a career-best performance - are pushed out front and the band behind sounds almost spectral, devoid of flash, propelled by Rob Ritter's exceptional bass work. In my opinion, this was the greatest Gun Club lineup of all - in the trebly slash of Dotson's guitar Pierce's voice found a perfect foil. In comparison, the Powers-Morrison lineup that recorded 'Las Vegas Story' sounds hamfisted and somewhat leaden. Standout songs? Hard to pick, it would hurt to disrespect any of the tunes by leaving them out. There's 'Mother of Earth' (beautiful country lament), a churning rewrite of CCR's 'Run Through the Jungle', the punky thrash of 'Bad Indian' and 'Sleeping in Blood City', 'Brother and Sister' which sends chills down my spine, the gris-gris faux-voodoo of 'Watermelon Man', a kickass romp through 'John Hardy'.
And now, to really gild the gingerbread, we get an excellent live set with this Cooking Vinyl reissue. Same lineup on world-beating form. Easily the greatest Gun Club live material released. Jeffrey Lee is sharp and focused (he wasn't always, to say the least), his timing is bang-on and his voice strong. Rob Ritter really shines here, his bass good and clear, uniquely melodic for this style of music. Highlights for me are a feral 'Fire Spirit' and a truly incandescent 'Preaching the Blues', but the whole gig is exceptional and a fitting memorial to Jeffrey and Rob, neither of whom are still with us, and to this lineup of the band which disintegrated far too soon, when they had so much still to offer.
All the Gun Club albums, and Pierce's solo work, is of a high standard and well worth owning, but for me 'Miami' is the crowning achievement. A timeless classic.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howls of Anguish mixed with Joys of Pain,
This review is from: Miami (Audio CD)This was another of those albums marking the 80's as a golden decade of music. Whilst Kraftwerk and Suicide had their essence stripped and their ideas plundered by corporate youth. Out in the garage another scene pounded the beat.
Stripping back the lineage of blues and injecting a healthy dose of Ramones, the Gun Club reinvented a genre previously left bereft in a post hippy wilderness. Whilst the white youth of the 60's wanted to get back in touch with the ingenuity of the black man but failed because to understand you needed to have felt it. JLP understood the emotional dialogue enshrined in swapping body fluids and went for it hook line and sinker. Blues was the genetic DNA from which all modern musical life forms emerged from with the possible exception of Kraftwerk.
The mutation was first unleashed in a post Crampsian world of Fire of Love. The follow up was a visceral thrash tempered with pathos. Whilst Fire of Love was pure lust, Miami was sombre and angry.
One gripe is JLP toning down the guitars whilst they should have been thrashing at number 11. It seems a bizarre decision as the live sets were errrrrrrattticccc in the extreme. JLP lying on his back with liquer dribbling down his chin ensuring the band kept tight to the beat ready for him to raise himself to the mike when he remembered where he was. This made them memorable experiences.
Guitar bass and drums never sounded so sexy especially in the early 80's where only the Cramps understood the mojo essence of these majestic primeval sounds. The myriad of imitators, mainly UK copycats did not understand the difference between violence and sex.
The Gun Club were on a different emotional planet mining jazz, RNB, Punk and traditional American music. The result was searing and staggering.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate classic,
This review is from: Miami (Audio CD)If you love garage rock and blues, this album should be in your collection. The Gun Club's version of 'Fire of love' is rock'n roll in all it's essence.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic rock album - truly underrated,
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This review is from: Miami (Audio CD)Of all the more cult-ish bands I have come across this year ins earch of hidden musical gems unknown to the greater, bieber and gaga loving public, this has to be the best; my own personal fave find: as a big fan of rootsy music like Creedence, Little Feat, lynyrd and further back stuff such as leadbelly and Guthrie, as well as the drive of the first Jam album and first couple of Clash records, I was utterly delighted by the sound of this: first of all just great, basic rock songs with memorable melodies, but the FEEL of it is just damn brilliant: you get great, on the face of it, basic rock songs, with a definite, firm punkish sound, but there is so much soul to these songs it is unbelievable. I'm not talking blue eyed soul here, more of a soulfull grooviness and earthiness: a lo-fi, basic sound that goes together wonderfully with the raucous, punky guitar and drum sound to create a wild (especially in the vocals), rocking sound that I find cannot really be described or defined to get the full effect from: you really need to listen to it yourself: I guess, if pushed, the official term of "roots punk" or "blues punk" could be applied: it's certainly a perfect distillation of the souls of both genres: the heart and soul of more rootsy music, and the aesthetic and sometime vocals of more straight out punk-ish bands.
Right, so, we have gotten the sound out of the way, what about general highlights: well, the main Highlight for me, just under the general feel and soul of the record alltogether, are the vocals, that really compliment both main sounds on which the album is based: this guy, I forget his name, clearly has that wild punk sound down pat, but has a genuinely emotional, (sorry to use this word yet again) soulful side to his vibe: a wild, soulful, melodious when neccesary singer basically and one of the best i have come across in a fair while: his voice proves a perfect conduit for the sound of the album, goes hand in hand brilliantly. As for song highlights, I will leave that up to you to dissect properly: my personal favourite's are Carry Home, which has a nice little melodic, moody bridge, the out and out punk-rock of like calling up thunder, which has a wonderful chorus, and finally Fire of love which I think has a wonderful overall melody, one moment in it in particular reminiscent of "endless sleep".
So, basically, genre bridging rock with genuine heart and soul, genuinely great songwriting, with both depth and catchy melodies, stunningly wild, passionate vocals and a great (i assume remastered) production that still manages to sound a bit ragged whilst retaining a clear edge.
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