The Bad Roads

Union Town


Who says old guys, excuse me, guys eligible for an AARP card, can’t rock? Ever since Southwest Louisiana’s Bad Roads reunited for a Ponderosa Stomp gig, they’ve been on a tear and have been knocking down highway signs left and right. Unbeknownst to them during their hiatus, they were elevated to cult status, with their ’66 “Blue Girl” hit single fetching over a grand on the delirious collector’s market. A live disc followed in 2004 that reprised “Blue Girl” and flip side “Too Bad” as well as establishing the rootsy baseline of their genesis with various Rolling Stones, Kinks and R&B covers.

From the sounds of it, age hasn’t slowed them down a bit. Their first studio album of all new material finds them once again mounting a full frontal, no nonsense attack that’s spearheaded by the tight interweaving tandem of guitarists Briant Smith and Bruce Macdonald. Because he never had to sing night in and night out, Buzz Clark still retains that essential hard edge to his vocals that recalls, somewhat, a youthful Jagger. Several songs are undeniably Stonesy, which isn’t by accident since the influence of the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band was a huge part of the Roads’ sonic DNA. Starting with the infectious title track and continuing through various roadhouse visits (“Last Train to Memphis”), rarely do they let up on the throttle, unless it’s for an emotive swamp popper (“Sweet Child”) or a slow pounding blues swagger (“Blue Lena”). After that, they waste no time in cranking it up again and if anyone has to strap on the oxygen tank or gulp down some Geritol, it won’t be them.