Paul Thorn – Pimps and Preachers

January 01, 1970

(Perpetual Obscurity Records)


Hailing from Tupelo Mississippi,
the city forever immortalized as the birthplace of Elvis, Paul Thorn took his
time before staking a claim for his birthright. He started out as a skydiver
and a prizefighter, and at one time found himself pitted against Roberto Duran.
Opting for a somewhat safer occupation — but one no less daunting — Thorn
gravitated towards music, and in the dozen years or so since switching gears,
he’s released several albums that show his savvy.  He’s also rubbed shoulders with a diverse
group of musicians, which, at one time or another has even included Sting, Paul Carrack, Joe Diffie, Tanya Tucker, Ronnie Milsap, and Carole King.


Despite that credence – or possibly because of
it — Thorn’s sound doesn’t vary all that much from the standard roots rock
template. At times, his gritty, gutbucket vocals reflect that of a somber good
‘ole boy balladeer, while at other times, he resembles a swampy Southern rocker
with a decidedly gritty disposition. Like Waylon, Willie, Cash and
Kristofferson, he’s ripe for a country crossover, although he finds firm
footing in rock realms as well. Mostly though, he excels at imparting everyday
aspirations, evoking the spirit of Hank Williams on “I Hope I’m Doing This
Right,” waxing eloquent on domestic discord with “You Might Be Wrong” or
wearily speculating about the advantages of alcohol on “Tequila Is Good for the
Heart.” And when veering his tact towards funk and soul, he also recalls Bad
Company on the assertive “Weeds In My Roses,” Little Feat on “Better Days
Ahead” and the sound of Beale Street blues on “That’s Life.”


Thorn’s chameleon-like shifts make him the
equivalent of a musical jack-of-all-trades, even though he gleans his
inspiration from a fairly patented approach. This is one Thorn who’s determined
to avoid being too prickly.


Standout Tracks: “I Hope I’m Doing Right,” “You Might Be
Wrongs,” “You’re Not the Only One” LEE ZIMMERMAN



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