Deadstring Brothers – Sao Paulo

January 01, 1970



Armed with the prerequisite rock ‘n’ roll swagger, as befits
a band based in Detroit, and a certain amount of Anglophile irreverence, given
that two of their members hail from the U.K., the Deadstring Brothers could
have settled for being a Stones tribute band had they not opted for their roots
rock insurgence.  Much of the
Deadstringers’ dead ringer similarity can be traced to singer Kurt Marschke’s Jagger-esque slur and moan,
but given the band’s penchant for haggard, bottleneck ballads and a weathered
sprawl, a relative likeness to albums like Beggars
, Exile on Main Street and
Let It Be becomes all but
unavoidable. Toss in the decadent influences of Gram Parsons and a hint of
Steve Earle, and the quartet’s synthesis of heartland sentiment and Brit-rock
perception is clearly defined.


Suffice it to say then, that anyone believing Sao Paulo would find the band opting for
a marked change in direction via a bossa nova beat or a south of the border
flair would be entirely misled.  The
title track bleeds dark desperation, its gaunt, bittersweet plea finding a
comfortable fit with the band’s usual mix of back-alley narratives and sneering
arch defiance.  The brash rebellion
inherent in “Houston,” “The River Song” and “It’s A Shame” affirm the quartet’s
antagonistic attitude before ceding the spotlight to the weary resignation that
marks the final entries, “The Same Old Rule,” “Yesterday’s Style” and “Always a
Friend of Mine.” 


The common thread is a general air of disillusionment that
hangs on every note and nuance, marking Sao
as destination where only the outcasts dwell. 


Standout tracks: “Sao Paulo,” “The Same Old Rule,” “”Yesterday’s Style” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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