Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Pickadillos - We're Only In It For the Dobro - Live at the Freakin' Frog

This is not an official release, but, who knows, maybe Rob will make you a copy if you ask him nicely!

The Pickadillos was Rob Bell's (Psyatics/Unwieldies/Gentlemen of Four Outs/Yeller Bellies, etc.) bluegrass band, with Rob singing lead and playing mandolin, accompanied by a terific banjo player, dobro, guitar, stand-up bass, drums, and lord knows what else. I never had a chance to see them play, but the musicianship here is all top-notch and, while the songs are all covers, there's some cool, funny and twisted choices here, as in a bluegrass medley of Pipeline" and "Stop in the Name of Love"! Who comes up with things like that?! Jerry Reed's "Amos Moses" makes a bit more sense - it's actually pretty close to the original, at least comparatively - but then they do "Cum On Feel the Noize" into "We're Not Gonna Take It"! Yeesh! Bluegrass banjo-pickin' on these tunes is truly bizarre. "Stuck in the Middle With You" is logical and somehow blended that with "I'm Down" does work.

Again, there are some more traditional tunes, like "Roly Poly" (where everyone gets to take a lead), "Rocky Top", "Man of Constant Sorrow" and "Dear Ol' Dixie". Then they take another weird tangent with Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives", with the mandolin handling the classic guitar line. The banjo workout "Fuji Mountain Breakdown" turns into "Turning Japanese" (hah!) and then there's another true oddity, Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright", though it is played as more of a straight rock number.

There's a few more tunes here that I'm not familiar with, but all cool, fun stuff. Wish I had known about the band when they were playing. I actually have not even been to the F.Frog, but the sound on this disc is pretty great, so it seems like it was/is a cool place to see bands. Considering some of the groups that are popular now, it seems like these cats were ahead of their time. Sorry they're not still around!