|Gypsy Lee Pistolero - 'The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful' (Evil Boy Records)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 04:00|
You may not know this, he might not even want you to know this, but Gypsy Lee Pistolero credits Uber Rock as one of the reasons why he chose to walk away from Gypsy Pistoleros, the band with which he had made his name (literally), and reinvent himself.
Arguably more concerned with shaking shit up than shake, rattle 'n' rolling, the members of that band forged a notoriety for themselves that would then soon overshadow anything they recorded. I remember them getting thrown off the (Tracii Guns-led) L.A. Guns tour, Lee dedicating the set to Phil Lewis's version, and who could forget the album launch debacle/hilarity? That Lee decided to find his own way may have surprised at first but, with 'The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful', he has proved, at a canter it seems, that he made the right choice.
Reuniting with former White Trash bandmate Mark Westwood (who provides guitar, bass and knob twiddling here) and coercing him into co-writing all the original tunes on this retro-fuelled, oil slick cool throwback of a record has proved to be something of a masterstroke for Pistolero.
Equal parts seedy rock 'n' roll joint jukebox fare, '50s juvenile delinquent b-movie soundtrack, gutter-dirty trash 'n' roll ripper, and Titty Twister-approved border breakout, 'The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful' finds Gypsy Lee Pistolero in possession of his most accomplished, musically, piece of work yet. Wrapping the thing in badass black 'n' white Vince Ray artwork simply seals the deal.
Okay, you'd have more chance of finding Jersey Devil hoofprints on the record than more than a whiff of originality, but it ain't what ya got, it's what you do with it, and Gypsy Lee Pistolero has successfully reinvented himself with this record. This shit is as timeless and cool as the classic biker jacket that Lee adorns on the back cover: everything is borrowed, everything comes full circle, but not everyone grasps this, picks the right time to let the muscle car come tearing out of the garage, fully tuned-up, ready to embark on a road movie littered with heartaches and guitar breaks.
The eleven track album's duo of cover versions (fine versions of Wayne Shanklin's 'Jezebel' - made famous by Frankie Laine, although I'd guess the Gene Vincent version is more of an influence here - and Cher's 'Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves', which, perhaps more in keeping with this record, was originally called 'Gypsies, Tramps and White Trash') aside, the songs on this 'ere long player roam between dusty plain, haunted barroom, and sweat-dripping punk 'n' roll club.
The title track opens the album and immediately aims to outdo(o-wop) everything that has previously littered Lee's discography. The song motors along on a frenetic yet loose retro rock 'n' roll tip, and impresses enough for you to know that the next three quarters of an hour are gonna entertain at the very least.
'Close As You'll Ever Be' sounds like Dirt Box Disco jamming a sweet 'n' sloppy trash 'n' roll tune in the rehearsal room, even managing to squeeze in a 'Shakin' All Over' homage, and 'Last Train To Nowhere' amps up the sleaze factor with the nearest Lee gets to rocking out in a more familiar manner; a timely Tyla and the Dogs influence appears here, among several other places throughout, 'They Call Me Django' and closer 'Just Another Friday Night' included.
It's the other sounds incorporated into the overall theme of the record that deserve credit though; the From Dusk Till Dawn-inspired strains (movie dialogue included) of 'Sangre Till Dawn' were always gonna impress a movie nerd like me, but there is quality here, as in the subtle 'Los Suenos De Los Muertos' which will, surely, offer a suitable footpath into the belly of the record to fans of the former band. As will 'Rubi's Got A Gun', a murderous mariachi marauder of a tune with a vulture of a hook circling around it. 'Johnny Dangerous' should be locked in that same sand-blasted, sun-bleached prison cell too, Cramps/B-52s vocals crying for freedom come chorus time.
Gypsy Lee Pistolero hasn't just thrown out this revamped version of his former self either; this album is available in a variety of formats, the nicest being a gorgeous red splatter coloured vinyl. Need any more proof?
Fiercely independent, just the way we like 'em, Gypsy Lee Pistolero has chosen to walk a different path but, as proven by quality of 'The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful', it is a path well chosen. Yeah, well trodden too but, c'mon, if you pick your influences wisely then all you're ever gonna be is all sorts of cool.