Waco Brothers and Paul Burch – Great Chicago Fire

January 01, 1970





The Waco Brothers are nothing if not consistent: they’ve
been purveyors of bar band rock ‘n’ roll with deep C&W roots since 1995,
back in alt-country’s heyday. Jon Langford, Dean Schlabowske and company are as
unabashed in their reverence for the Clash and T. Rex as they are in their
admiration for Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.


Great Chicago Fire, their first studio album in seven
years, is only a slight shift for the Wacos: it partners them with Paul Burch,
whose country leanings are more traditional Nashville. His excellent albums foreground
their craft, whether he’s covering Buddy Holly or collaborating with Ralph
Stanley. For Burch fans, Great Chicago
is a revelation: his songs (five of the eleven, plus a co-write with
Langford) get extra juice from the unfettered Wacos, especially on the Bo
Diddley-indebted “Up On The Mountain.”


For Wacos fans, the album’s a welcome helping of comfort
food, with an extra dose of classic rock allusions: they mash-up Dylan’s “Hard
Rain’s Gonna Fall” with Bowie’s “Jean Genie,” and they channel the Stones’ Exile
On Main Street
throughout. No surprises, but impeccably predictable.


DOWNLOAD: “Wrong Side Of Love,” “Great Chicago Fire”  STEVE KLINGE




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