- 04 Nov 21
Stuart Clark revels in the spiritual powers of Hank Williams-style country, dirty Delta blues and blast-your-brains-out techno
Alabama 3 had been running a book on which of its members would die first with the smart/dumb money on the Reverend D. Wayne Love, the band’s evangelising co-founder who duly succumbed last year to the rigours of rock ‘n ‘roll life.
Before doing so he laid down the eerily prescient rap – “Don’t cry for me as I lay dying/ Sound the bell three times, I’m coming home” - which makes 'Night Tripper In The Trap House' almost too painful to listen to, especially with The Artist Also Known As Jake Black’s death mask on the cover. If it doesn’t have you pondering your own mortality, nothing will.
The faux southern American accents and Church of Elvis The Divine shtick make it easy to dismiss the Brixton posse as a novelty band, but these are men who understand the spiritual powers of Hank Williams-style country, dirty Delta blues and blast-your-brains-out techno.
The latter is to the fore on ‘Whacked’, an adrenaline pumping checklist of the things people do – most of them illegal – to get through their days.
John Lee Hooker, Paul Robeson and the Wu-Tangs are all evoked on ‘Yolanda’, a Black Lives Matter-referencing song, which is even more urgent sounding and likely to drag you onto the dancefloor than its predecessor.
The closest they get to their Sopranos soundtracking masterpiece, 'Woke Up This Morning', on album number thirteen is ‘Rise Up Brother Rise’, a gospel-y exhortation to lift yourself out of whatever personal ghetto you’ve been trapped in.
Elsewhere, 'Somebody Somewhere' (“That’s when I want you to whisper in my ear and tell me that somebody, somewhere still cares”) is the most bruised and battered of love songs; 'Tranquilize Yourself Britannia' imagines a pill popping House of Windsor; and the twangy of guitar and tinkling of piano ‘Every Time I See A River’ makes you wonder how many Larry Love has to smoke a day to sound that gravelly.
It will be never be quite the same again without the Reverend D. Wayne Love, but Alabama 3 are carrying his spirit with them quite beautifully.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 21 Feb 24