If you want to fight back against the forces that are trying to destroy live local music, this is a good place to start. We’re in an all-out cultural war and our only weapon, the way this is all being framed, is to play as loud and as hard as we can. Let them know we’re here, goddammit. You might as well play it like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t.
When the Lonely Lonely Knights hit it at the Saturn bar, they know it over at Captain Sal’s. This is the band that opened the garage door in latter day New Orleans. And this record captures the band realistically, in all its bleeding heart intensity, rocking its way to freedom of expression.
The hard core here is Ted Matthews and DC Harbold on guitar and vocals, D. Lefty Parker on bass and vocals and new drummer Collin Booker. Mitch Palmer (keys, guitar), Dan Cooper (pedal steel, guitar) also contribute to the mayhem, and even though he’s not on the record, King Louie gets a shout out in the personnel department for his on-site harmonica contributions.
The core two-guitar sound of Matthews/Harbold is cobalt dense. Harbold is a vicious riffer and Matthews has an artisan welder’s touch on the steel strings, summoning raunch and feedback and rockabilly reverb and Music Machine crunch and a lyrical overlay that has you thinking about Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton. Parker drives it thick and elastic as a crude oil spill and seems just as likely to set an unquenchable fire.
Somehow, they manage to capture this sound on the record in all its divine imperfection, the very actualization of teenage wasteland from their garage to your living room. Lefty’s muse is aptly disrobed on the opener, “The Ballad of the Lonely Knight.” Matthews wallows in doloroso daydreams on the stately themes “So Over the Shape I’m In” and “I’ll Never Miss Anyone Ever Again.”
The impish Harbold, who switches out his trademark Clockwork Elvis bowler for a headband in this outfit, delivers the crowd pleasing pop tunes “Fool Fool Fool” and “Dress Up Baby Doll.” Palmer’s key contributions in the writing department come to the fore in “Kajun Konquistador.” They top it off with a raucous rave up version of “Baby Please Don’t Go” that sounds like a battle of the bands between the Yardbirds and Roger and the Gypsies at London’s Crawdaddy club.
Take that, Sidney!