Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell: Social Distortion

Rating: 90%

Social_Distortion_-_Somewhere_Between_Heaven_and_Hell_cover1992 was the year that “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” by Social D was released. The album features some very talented musicians. The musicianship is incredible. Lead vocalist and lead guitarist Mike Ness whose voice is whiskey drench sings the blues or country and punk as if those genres were created for him. His leads and riffs are so precise. Rhythm guitarist Dennis Danell throws out such good riffs. He actually compliments Mike Ness’s style. Plenty of great bass by John Maurer. The drum lines by Christopher Reece are wonderfully done.

Musically, this album is rock solid from start to finish. It flows very well. The influences from Punk, Country, Blues, Rock n’ Roll, and Rockabilly are  so balanced. It’s heavy, but it could be played on any radio station no matter the genre. It’s very energetic and powerful. Everything in so in tuned here from the melodies to the harmony of the instruments to the vocals.

Track listing:

“Cold Feelings” – 3:31
“Bad Luck” – 4:26
“Making Believe” (Jimmy Work) – 4:12
“Born to Lose” – 4:09
“Bye Bye Baby” – 3:06
“When She Begins” – 5:04
“99 to Life” – 4:28
“King of Fools” (W.E. Bruce) – 2:50
“Sometimes I Do” – 4:01
“This Time Darlin’ ” – 4:08
“Ghost Town Blues” – 4:38

The Pursuit Of Happiness: The Beat Farmers

Rating: 90%

r-593302-1135993129-jpegI was introduced to the Beat Farmers shortly after this release in 1988. It was Country, it was Punk, it was Rockabilly, and it was Rock. I didn’t know how to take the band at first, but I quickly grew to love the Beat Farmers.

The musicianship is extremely tight with this group. The band members often switched instruments, but you had guitarist & vocalist Joey Harris, bassist Rolle Love Bass, drummer, pianist, vocalist & guitarist Country Dick Montana, and drummer, vocalist, harp, & guitarist Jerry Raney.

Musically, this is Country music done in a fun way that was just as traditional as any. Their style of Punk, traditional Country, and Rock n’ Roll is remarkable. The guitar work is truly a work of art. The remake of Johnny Cash’s “Red River” is wonderfully done. Country Dick has that voice that is deep enough to pull a great cover off. The lead guitar that is heavily distorted is amazing.

The Beat Farmers were one of those bands that were somewhat popular and then after the death of Country Dick, just went their own ways. “The Pursuit of Happiness” is still one of my favorite albums of theirs.

Track listing:

Hollywood Hills 4:21
Ridin’ 4:08
Dark Light 4:08
Make It Last 4:04
Key To The World 3:22
God Is Here Tonight 3:40
Big Big Man 3:58
Elephant Day Parade 2:44
Rosie 2:23
Texas 3:26
Big River 2:36