Sunday, March 13, 2016

"Sundown," Rank and File (1983)

Rank and File was a relatively short-lived band from the early 1980s that fell into the “country punk” genre, of which I’m guessing there were few members.  “Sundown” is a perfectly pleasant and enjoyable record (if short – barely 30 minutes long), but there isn’t much about it that makes me think of punk.  The band must have been a marketing nightmare for Slash Records – I can’t imagine punks of the time wanting to listen to it much, and it seems a fair bet that most country fans would question the wisdom of any band associating themselves with those “damn punks.”

Trivia note: one of the band’s guitarists was Alejandro Escovedo, who remains an active (and strong) artist today.  I’m not sure what became of the Kinman brothers (who wrote most of the songs), but they wrote good enough songs that I hope they made a decent career of it eventually.

Christgau: A-.  As rock concepts go these days, the idea of making like the fourth-best bar band in Wichita Falls is plenty warm-blooded, so that even though I disapprove in theory of the loud, klutzy dynamics of this ex-punk country-rock, its zeal wins me over every time. Helps that they leave "Wabash Cannonball" etc. off the album and explain their excellent motives in their own words, fleshed out with a few of the guitar licks they found lying around that bar.

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