Friday, January 29, 2010

Hearing the Same Old Questions

Health Hazard are one of my favorite punk bands from the now-overlooked decade of the 1990s. Since I’ve written about what the ‘90s meant to punk rock music before, I’m not going to get into it again here. But these British crusty punks were a significant part of what was going on back then, if you followed this end of the punk scene. Health Hazard formed in 1992, hailing from the violent working-class city of Bradford in Northern England. Guitarist Alec and drummer Sned were also in One by One, and I believe they were also active in the 1 in 12 Club, which was sort of like England’s version of venues like Gilman Street and ABC No Rio here in the US. Sned also ran Flat Earth Records, which released a lot of great bands from the mid ‘80s up until a few years ago. Some of those bands included Los Crudos, DDI, Doom, Dropdead, Electro Hippies, Pink Turds in Space, Sawn Off, and Urko.

I was seventeen when I first heard the Health Hazard ten-inch, thanks to a cassette dub that also had Oi Polloi’s classic Resist the Atomic Menace EP, the Disaffect/Sedition split, and that Deprived seven-inch that had the cover of “Blackout” by SOA on it. Good tape, huh? That tape was one of many that played a vital role in my transition from dipshit suburban punk obsessed with purely ‘80s hardcore to dipshit suburban punk obsessed with bands closer to my own generation. I liked my punk rock to be loud and fast, and Health Hazard were right up my alley. Blistering crusty hardcore fronted by one pissed-off female who eventually shredded her vocal chords to where she had to leave the band. Upon her departure, Health Hazard morphed into Suffer.

Unfortunately, this record is hard to come by since the original plates were destroyed in a fire. It was remastered and re-released as an LP with the other two seven-inches included as a discography. Prank Records also did a Health Hazard/Suffer split discography CD about ten years ago, but I’m not sure that it’s in print anymore.

Out of the three records they released, this ten-inch remains my favorite Health Hazard record to this day. In particular, the song “What You Going to Do?” still packs a punch with its lyrics about living a different life than one that caves in to social pressure to “grow up,” find a career, and raise a family. As a seventeen-year-old going nowhere fast, that just didn’t sound like the life for me. I’m turning 32 in a few months and that’s still not how I want to live. Sometimes I wonder how things would have turned out if I had gone in that direction. After all, I’ve been unemployed for an entire calendar year and I receive $140 a month in food stamps. I never went to college, nor do I have a high school diploma. By the standards of most people my age, I’m a fucking loser. But unlike them, I’m not stressed out about things like credit card debt. Or house and car payments. I have been exploring career options, but rest assured that it’s nothing that resembles the typical 9-5 routine or becoming a corporate cocksucker. No way. There are other things to do in life besides climbing that ladder and keeping up with the Joneses.

Keep up here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Short Sharp Shock

While Discharge is my favorite Britpunk band of all time, Chaos UK comes in at a close second. One summer afternoon when I was fourteen or fifteen, I was guest-DJing on WRCT, the radio station at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. My sister was a student there, and her friend would sometimes let me play some records on her show whenever I went back east to visit family each summer. I wanted to play something “punk” that I’d never heard before on the radio, and happened to pick up a copy of (what I learned much later was) the Digging in Water compilation. A song called “Kill Your Baby” by a band called Chaos UK certainly sounded punk enough to me, so we played it alongside a bunch other crap that was considered punker-than-shit when I was fourteen or fifteen. It was kinda noisy and fast, and maybe a little too much so for a kid whose taste in English punk bands didn’t extend much further than the Sex Pistols and the Exploited yet.

But of course that changed within a year or two, and Chaos UK would come up again. By then, I’d already heard Crass and Rudimentary Peni. Discharge and Extreme Noise Terror managed to burn their way into my soul, and also got dubs of classic records by GBH and the Varukers as well. I think how I got back into Chaos UK was actually trading a dub of the GBH tape for one my friend had of 100% Two Fingers in the Air Punk Rock. From there, I started checking out other bands from the same period, but these cider-swilling Bristol punkers always rated the highest among the UK82 bands I made a point to listen to. Eventually, I came across Short Sharp Shock and got to hear Chaos UK playing in the same style as they did when I first heard “Kill Your Baby” years ago.

By the time they’d released this album (their second) on Riot City in 1984, Chaos UK had undergone several lineup changes, leaving bassist Chaos as the lone original member. Prior to this, they’d released two excellent 7-inches—Burning Britain and Loud Political & Uncompromising. Their self-titled debut LP has its moments, but is actually rather boring overall. But Short Sharp Shock captures the early Chaos UK sound fully. Just listen to that chainsaw guitar, which was equally influential to Disorder’s Perdition 12-inch in driving Japanese punks wild enough to start bands like Confuse and Gai. They started to build on this noisier approach on the half-studio/half-live Just Mere Slaves 12-inch, but seemingly opted to standardize their style on their 1986 split LP with Extreme Noise Terror and beyond. Although I still like quite a few of the later Chaos UK records, I can’t help but wonder what could have happened if they’d chosen to continue in the direction that Short Sharp Shock and Just Mere Slaves were taking. Apparently this album drove singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked wild too—she released a record four years later that ripped off this album’s title and cover photo idea.

Stud your jacket, charge your hair, and lace up that old pair of boots. It’s time to grab a bottle of cider and dance the farmyard boogie to one of the all-time greats of the UK82 era.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dual Holocaust

Few bands are more appropriately named than Extreme Noise Terror. They first came into my life the same day as Discharge and to put it mildly; I needed more time to absorb the aftershock of the Dis-tunes first. After a few months, I was ready to get Extreme with A Holocaust in Your Head. Getting into ENT, Discharge, and other bands like them at the time, I wasn’t really concerned (or that aware, really) of genre labels or political statements. It was just some crazy, pissed off-sounding hardcore shit, some of which hit me as hard as hearing Black Flag or MDC for the first time. Meaning that sometimes I’d feel like my door was going to be kicked in by the police for listening to these bands. And I LOVED getting that feeling from music, which is exactly how punk rock ought to feel when you’re first getting into it. Extreme Noise Terror was a musical whirlwind of chaos, destruction, and shredded larynxes. For grindcore or extreme hardcore, A Holocaust in Your Head would rank as my all-time favorite if not for Napalm Death’s Peel sessions.
Anyone remember bootleg tape distros like Poison Planet? ‘Cause I sure do. A few years after first getting Extreme, I was flipping through one of those Poison Planet catalogs when I came across a listing for not one, but TWO versions of A Holocaust in Your Head on tape. But by the time I was in a situation to where I could have ordered it from them, Poison Planet was already done for. Damn! But I’m not usually one to get too bent out of shape over missing out on certain records—I always figure I’m going to eventually hear it, one way or another.

Years later, I’m looking at Sean’s Damaging Noise blog because the blogosphere is where I go to get new tunes in my life these days. And somewhere in the middle of a long list of links, he’s got the other version of A Holocaust in Your Head that I’ve wanted to hear all this time. It’s even possible that there are more versions out there—exactly how many times do you have to re-record one record? Geez. Anyway, this particular cranial holocaust finds ENT sounding even looser than they did on their earlier split LP with Chaos UK. Sloppier in execution, more punk in overall style. It’s interesting to hear songs like “Bullshit Propaganda” without lightning-speed drumming and in more of a Disorder vein. But I can see why they re-recorded it—there were similar bands at the time like Ripcord and Heresy playing this style of hardcore better than ENT did. The later version retains a much longer-lasting impact.

But as a fan of noisy hardcore punk, I’d like to invite you to make the comparison yourself between these two versions of A Holocaust in Your Head. But keep in mind that The Evil Eye assumes no responsibility for any holocaust that does ensue in one’s head after listening to this.

Get Extreme here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fucking Oldies

Last week we got drunk with some of the best blues shouters of all time. We’re back at the honky tonk again this week and we’re still drinking, mind you. We’re drinking, dancing, and smoking up a storm. Every girl at the bar looks like Pam Grier circa 1974 and they’re all single and willing. Not to sound crass, but goddamn it, it’s time to get laid. But our usual records for such activity won’t cut it. These ladies aren’t particularly big fans of Highway to Hell, Shout at the Devil, the Nuge, or whatever else you can think of along those lines. No, they need to hear something that’s a little bit less macho, and with more dynamics and rhythm for this all-night pony ride. Of course, we at The Evil Eye have just what you need should you find yourself in this situation.

Rhino Records often does a good job on their compilations, and Risqué Rhythm Nasty ‘50s R&B is no exception. Some of my all-time favorite songs are gathered here—“It Ain’t the Meat” by the Swallows, the Dominoes’ “Sixty Minute Man,” “Work With Me Annie” by the Royals, and “Rocket 69” by the Todd Rhodes Orchestra. Fans of the video game Fallout 3 will recognize Roy Brown and “Butcher Pete Pt. 1” from the soundtrack, and Bull Moose Jackson’s classic “Big Ten-Inch Record” has only been slightly tainted by Aerosmith’s bad cover on the otherwise perfect Toys in the Attic album. Wynonie Harris puts in more than one appearance again as well. It makes me laugh to think that I heard most of these songs as a little kid, not really knowing what the Toppers meant when they sang “(I Love to Play Your Piano) Let Me Bang Your Box.” Yet watching Ghostbusters was somehow supposed to be a bad influence on my budding mind. Whatever.

While these songs deal with a lot of double entendres, they’re done so in a way that’s much more clever than the sexual braggadocio of today’s hip-hop. There’s no mention of bitches, hoes, or skeezers here. Women aren’t being tossed to the side in lieu of the next conquest. In fact, they’re honest about what they want and are having just as much fun as the men are…if not more. This is how it should be. Like respect, sex is a two-way street too.

More could be said, but our Coffy lookalike is waiting with a look in her eyes that suggests that it’s time to tend to her needs. Get risqué; get nasty. Make sure you’ve got that big long slidin’ thang covered and keep on churnin’.

Get laid here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pro Wrestling Primer: The Hit Man Returns

If you didn’t already know, Bret “Hit Man” Hart is returning to WWE tonight as this week’s guest host on Monday Night Raw. Since I don’t actually have cable TV, I unfortunately won’t be able to see it. But the Hit Man is sticking around for a little bit at least, although it’s safe to say that he probably won’t enter the ring for one more match. Which is fine by me. I don’t necessarily think that stroke victims should be doing physical activity like pro wrestling matches. I’d be happy adding another Bret Hart DVD set to the ol’ collection though.

Because I’m not able to watch Raw tonight, I thought I’d share a classic Bret Hart match that is often referred to as one of the best of all-time. Of course, I’m talking about the I Quit match (or a submission match, if you prefer, but that isn’t what it was really supposed to be) pitting the Hit Man against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13 in March 1997.

I knew this match was going to deliver on all levels when they’d finally announced it. Back in 1989, my favorite match had been established when Ric Flair and Terry Funk wrestled an I Quit match at the Clash of the Champions. A wrestling rivalry had actually reached a level of intensity that called for a stipulation in which one wrestler had to end the punishment by uttering the words “I quit.” And it was with two of the greatest wrestlers ever in the Nature Boy and the bad man from the Double Cross Ranch. As an eleven-year-old wrestling fan, it was hard to predict just who would ultimately win this most epic encounter. Flair came out on top, but it was no easy feat to get there. It had almost everything I wanted as a wrestling fan—except blood. The hatred between the two wrestlers made it necessary to depict bloodshed in the match, but I realize now that the powers-that-be at TBS wouldn’t have allowed it to happen. Despite that, the I Quit match became my favorite match that I saw take place as it happened, as opposed to renting it on video later on. Eight years later, my favorite match had a new candidate.

Bret Hart dubbed himself “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be,” and it was hard to argue that point. If you watch wrestling for good, solid matches that stand the test of time, Hart’s body of work in the WWF has got to be somewhere in the top five or ten for American pro wrestling’s modern era. But 1996 was a hard year for the Hit Man. Although he regained the WWF Championship from Diesel at the previous year’s Survivor Series, Hart had the next challenger breathing down his neck. Shawn Michaels had been honing his craft for nearly ten years, and it seemed like it was his time to ascend to the WWF champion’s throne. That happened at WrestleMania 12, in which the Heartbreak Kid wrested the title from Bret in a 60-minute Iron Man match that went into sudden death when neither opponent scored a victory. The Hit Man took some time off from the WWF, having been on the road for them since 1984. Citing burnout, Bret decided to try a little bit of acting, playing a part on the short-lived TV Western “Lonesome Dove.” But as fans, we knew that losing to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania was bothering him.

During Hart’s sabbatical, a new entry in the WWF started making waves. Steve Austin had previously wrestled for WCW, but didn’t get a fair enough chance to live up to his potential. His tag team with Brian Pillman, the Hollywood Blondes, was fun to watch but ultimately wasn’t taken seriously enough by management to be pushed as a force to be reckoned with. In 1995, Austin got his pink slip FedExed to him while recuperating from an injury. Madder than hell and not going to take it anymore, he made a brief stop in ECW and began to plant the seeds of what would eventually sprout and become “Stone Cold.” After a rocky start with the WWF, Austin got back on track after beating Jake “The Snake” Roberts in the 1996 King of the Ring tournament final. After his famous misappropriation of John 3:16 during the post-match interview, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was off and running. It was clear that this WCW castaway was hungry for success, possessed with getting to the top of the wrestling mountain. Soon enough, he began to run Bret down in interviews, challenging him to a match despite Hart not being an active wrestler at the moment.

During this time, Bret had also been entertaining a big money offer from WCW to jump ship. Their Monday Nitro program was often beating the WWF’s Raw in the ratings, and were about to pull ahead with Hulk Hogan’s recent heel turn and defection to the nWo. Due to his tenure and consistency for great matches, Bret was considered part of the WWF’s franchise by this time, as much as Hogan or Randy “Macho Man” Savage (who had also signed with WCW) had been in the past. Despite what the critics would say about his drawing power, losing Bret Hart to WCW in 1996 would have been a big blow to the WWF. But Bret decided to stay with the WWF, and his first order of business would be to shut Steve Austin up once and for all. By beating Austin, Hart would re-establish himself in the WWF ranks with regaining the championship as the end goal. Although he won the battle against Austin at the 1996 Survivor Series, the Hit Man/Stone Cold war had only just begun.

Things heated up between Hart and Austin at the Royal Rumble in January 1997. Bret eliminated Austin, but the referees were preoccupied with breaking up a fight between Mankind and Terry Funk on the arena floor, and didn’t see the elimination take place. Stone Cold snuck back into the ring and managed to throw Vader, the Undertaker, and Bret over the top rope to claim the victory—and the right to challenge for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania 13. Whether Bret liked it or not, Austin had now entered the title picture. But upon seeing that Austin had been rightfully eliminated from the Royal Rumble, the WWF allowed a rematch between the final four wrestlers to take place. Since WWF champion Shawn Michaels had forfeited the title (again) after a serious injury, the winner of the Final Four match would become the new titleholder.

Bret Hart beat the Undertaker to win the match and become the new WWF champion at the In Your House 13: Final Four pay-per-view. But his reign only lasted one day, losing the belt to Psycho Sid on Monday Night Raw due to Steve Austin’s interference. From there, the I Quit match was announced. And because he was the Final Four’s runner-up, the Undertaker was named the number-one contender to challenge for Psycho Sid’s title at WrestleMania. That really sucked, because we wanted to see Bret vs. Stone Cold go at it for the title in the main event instead. But the topsy-turvy WWF main event scene finally had a direction en route to WrestleMania, even if the order of matches was a total reversal of what we really wanted to see happen.

But Bret deserved a rematch, and it took place in a steel cage on the last episode of Raw before WrestleMania. The winner would defend the title in the main event, and we held out hope that Bret would regain for an awesome knock-down, drag ‘em out fight with Stone Cold to close out what was sure to be an otherwise lame show. Just as the Hit Man was about to exit the cage and win the match, the Undertaker slammed the door shut, knocking him out for a Psycho Sid victory and destroying our hopes and dreams. During the post-match interview with Vince McMahon, Bret shoved the announcer to the mat and embarked on a profanity-laced tirade about how he’d been getting screwed out of opportunities to become the champion. He had rightfully won the Royal Rumble and the right to face Shawn Michaels for the championship in a WrestleMania rematch. But Austin screwed him, and Michaels threw the title picture into chaos when he hurt his knee and gave up the title. Bret won the vacant championship, but got screwed by Austin again. Vince McMahon and the WWF had also screwed him, and there was a company-wide conspiracy to keep the Hit Man out of the title picture. If Bret got screwed half as many times as he claimed he had, he’d be able to…never mind. If anything, WE got screwed out of the most badass WrestleMania main event ever.

Nevertheless, we weren’t going to miss this shit for the world. It was the most heated rivalry we’d seen take place in the WWF for quite some time. One of the best wrestlers of the 1990s was about to get in the damnedest fight with the guy who wanted to be regarded as one of the decade’s best in the worst way and by golly, it was gonna tear the house down. There was no way on earth this match was going to suck.

Ken Shamrock had recently crossed over to pro wrestling from mixed martial arts, and was involved as a special guest referee for this momentous occasion. The glass breaks, and Stone Cold strides to the ring. Although he’s not a submission wrestler, he’s ready to deliver a vicious beating and force the Hit Man to quit that way. He even gets in Shamrock’s face upon entering the ring. It’s time for Austin to finally live up to the potential that real wrestling fans saw in WCW seven years ago. Bret’s music hits, and he simply steps over Austin’s broken glass before walking towards the ring. The sunglasses are given away to a lucky young fan. Once Bret enters the ring, the fight is on. The fisticuffs spill out of the ring and into the crowd, right in front of WWF Hall of Fame members Tony Atlas and the late Captain Lou Albano. Hart and Austin begin to fight up the lower deck as Vince McMahon lets us know that this is what WrestleMania is about.

The combatants make their way back to ringside. Austin is taking a beating, but reverses an Irish whip that sends Bret crashing into the ring steps. As Jim Ross says on commentary, they’ve spent about thirty seconds in the ring and the rest on the floor. They get back in the ring shortly after that comment, and Bret reminds us that this is his domain by taking back control of the match.

Jim Ross is great while commenting on Bret’s work on Austin’s knee, which is in a brace. Austin hits a Stone Cold Stunner out of desperation, but he can’t win the match on a pinfall. Bret recovers and wraps Austin up in a figure-four leglock around the steel ringpost. Bret was the first person I saw do that, and I loved that move. After grabbing the ring bell and leaving it on the ring apron, he then brings a chair into the ring, folds Austin’s leg in it, and prepares to jump off the top rope for some serious leg damage. But Austin pastes the Hit Man with the chair, sending him crashing to the mat. He nails him with another shot that cracks throughout the arena. Stone Cold takes over on Bret as Jim Ross takes an obvious shot at WCW and Hulk Hogan, saying that it’s not about talking about the past or covering a bald spot. That rules. One of Bret’s daughters gets caught on camera covering her face to avoid seeing her dad getting beaten up. That rules too.

Austin drops Hart with a Russian leg sweep and applies an actual submission hold whose name I can’t remember. But it’s not your typical everyday Boston Crab-type maneuver either. Speaking of which, Austin goes for that one next as we see a shot of Bret’s legendary dad Stu Hart with a look of concern. Bret fights off Austin’s attempt at the Sharpshooter with a rake of the eyes, but gets tossed out of the ring.

Just when you thought this match was good, it’s about to get better. Bret reverses an Irish whip and sends Austin sailing headfirst over the timekeeper’s table and into the guardrail. Hart pummels him with punches and Austin comes up bleeding.

McMahon suggests that maybe Ken Shamrock should stop the match for Austin’s blood loss, and J.R. responds that Stone Cold would try to kill him for that decision. But the blood is spilling and Hart is zeroing in for the win. The backbreaker connects, as does the Hit Man elbow from the second rope. Hart then goes after Austin’s injured knee with the chair and goes for the Sharpshooter. But Austin has a receipt for that rake of the eyes earlier and avoids the hold. A low blow later, and Austin is able to get some breathing room.

Hart is sent chest-first into the turnbuckles and get a mudhole stomped in him while sitting in the corner. Austin puts him on the top rope and takes him right back down with a jarring superplex. He exits the ring to grab an extension cord from ringside and begins to wrap it around Bret’s throat as he tries to recover on the ring apron. But the ring bell is still lying right there, and Bret smashes Austin over the head with it out of desperation. Stone Cold goes down like a ton of bricks upon impact.

Austin begins to get to his feet, but the Hit Man trips him up and successfully applies the Sharpshooter. Hart sits down to maximize the impact, and Stone Cold is trapped with no way to get to the ropes and break the hold. Ken Shamrock repeatedly asks him if he wants to give it up, but Austin refuses. His bloody face is captured on camera in a famous shot that was used in Monday Night Raw’s opening montage for quite some time. By this point, we were screaming at the TV for Austin to reach the ropes and break the hold. Stone Cold begins to fade, but comes back with a valiant effort to bridge out of the Sharpshooter that is almost successful. But Bret re-applies the hold, and we just knew that it was the end for ol’ Stone Cold. Risking a serious back injury, he tries a couple more times to fight his way out, but passes out from the pain. Ken Shamrock stops the match and Bret is the winner by default. But Austin never actually quit and gave up!

At that point, I knew that I’d just seen the best match of all-time. I even said to my friends that this was actually better than Flair vs. Funk in 1989. Better than Savage vs. Steamboat at WrestleMania III. I also knew that Steve Austin would be the WWF champion by next year’s WrestleMania, but that’s another story for another time. Austin lived up to his potential and became the WWF’s next top babyface, and it was now time for the Hit Man to switch his role and become the hated heel.

Stone Cold is still unconscious, with Ken Shamrock looking over him. Vince McMahon asks for medical assistance and all of a sudden, Bret begins to attack Austin’s injured leg. Like a bad guy would, he’s gonna kick Austin when he’s down. Shamrock intervenes and takes matters into his own hands by taking the Hit Man down. Hart and Shamrock face off, planting a seed for a future rivalry, and Bret leaves the ring to a chorus of boos. He caps it off perfectly by flipping the bird right in the fan’s face on his way up the aisle. Awesome!

After a match like that, the following matches—a Chicago Street Fight pitting Ahmed Johnson and the Legion of Doom against the Nation of Domination and Undertaker vs. Sid in the main event—seemed anticlimactic. During the street fight, we couldn’t stop talking about how awesome the I Quit match was. And the championship match was just terrible. WrestleMania 13 was a one-match show, and that one match was the shit.

Bret Hart cemented his heel turn in the coming weeks, turning on American wrestling audiences while praising the fans everywhere else in the world. He would also reform the Hart Foundation with former tag team partner Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, estranged brother Owen Hart, brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith, and family friend Brian Pillman. The rivalry with Steve Austin continued after WrestleMania as well, resulting in a classic match at the Canadian Stampede pay-per-view, in which the Hart Foundation beat the team of Austin, Ken Shamrock, the Legion of Doom, and Goldust. Bret would win his fifth and final WWF Championship at Summerslam 1997, after pinning the Undertaker following an errant chair shot from guest referee Shawn Michaels.

If you plan on watching the Hit Man host Monday Night Raw tonight, hopefully this look back at his best feud got you pumped up for his return. I’m being optimistic and hoping it goes well, looking forward to what role he’ll play on WWE programming. I don’t expect anyone to do this, but if you happen to catch Raw tonight, feel free to let The Evil Eye know what you thought via the comments section.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Drunken Oldies

We at The Evil Eye hope you had a happy and safe New Year. Chances are this post finds you nursing a massive hangover from drinking entirely too much last night. Despite your head feeling like it resides underwater, you still want some good tunes to make the day move just a little bit quicker. But the standard punk and metal fare is just too loud and obnoxious for your poor aching cranium, so what to do? Well, The Evil Eye has the perfect solution: a compilation of old drinking songs from some fine R&B artists from the post-WWII era.

R&B used to mean rhythm and blues, and it didn’t have much to do with newfangled hip hop-oriented vocal groups singing harmonies about the kind of love that only exists in movies. It used to mean dancing, drinking, and smoking with reckless abandon in your local honky tonk bar on the wrong side of town. The songs were often written in a way that was probably considered somewhat offensive back then, but you couldn’t help but chuckle when Wynonie Harris chastised his girlfriend with “Bloodshot Eyes.” Although some really uptight people might still say that some of the lyrics are sexist, it’s still a far cry from the bitch-hoe sentiments of modern gangsta rap.

You won’t be able to find this compilation in any record store. In fact, this is a CD-R compiled a few years ago by my late father and an old friend of his for a high school reunion. I think all or most of these songs were ripped from the actual records themselves, so you won’t hear any of the remastering botchery that often plagues many R&B reissue CDs. If you listen to a lot of old R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, you’ll probably recognize quite a few of these songs. Wynonie Harris has four songs on here, probably because it’s difficult to choose just one. Other tunes include Larry Dale’s great cover of “Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee,” “Drunk” by Jimmy Liggins, Red Prysock’s “Thunderbird,” “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” by Amos Milburn, and “I Got Loaded” by Peppermint Harris. And what drinking songs compilation would be complete without the obvious “Tequila” by the Champs? You get 31 songs in all, with maybe one or two that don’t totally rule.

Of course, all of this talk about drinking might also be enough to send you running to retch out the rest of your stomach lining as an offering to the porcelain god. It’s okay. We’ve been there too.

Get drunk here.