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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Real Gone Music artist: X - Under The Big Black Sun - New release review

I just received the newest release, Under The Big Black Sun from X. Of course if you're a fan of punk or alt. rock music you know that this excellent release came out originally in 1982. Bassist and vocalist John Doe and co conspirator Exene Cervenka led the way in the LA punk scene with guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer DJ Bonebreak. Opening with the Hungry Wolf, X establishes it trademark sound. Duet vocals, grinding rhythm guitar and firm drums. Motel Room In My Bed follows with Exene taking the lions share of the vocals and you can really see where even bands such as The Donna's got their influence. Riding With Mary is a solid rock track with confident drumming and solid guitar riffs. Come Back To Me is a mellow bluesy ballad with smooth vocals from Exene and sax work by Zoom. Title track, Under The Big Black Sun, is a really top notch pop rocker with edge. Because I Do cuts loose at warp speed, but keeping it simple is where it's at. Doe and Exene trade off on lead vocals and quick bursts of guitar occasionally break the rhythmic pace. Blue Spark has a contagious rhythm and trademark vocals. Very cool. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes, a traditional folk blues track gets a Latin/island treatment and shows the band experimenting with different sounds. Excellent even by today's standards. Real Child Of Hell is a punk rock track with a solid rock base. Showing real musicianship in construction the band rips and you just hold on and enjoy. How I (Learned My Lesson) is probably one of the songs most closely associated with X's sound with Exene and John Doe trading vocals. Zoom keeps the solid rhythm on guitar but occasionally throws in a Ventures run and even takes a cool solo on this one. Excellent! Wrapping the original release is The Have Nots, a smooth paced heavy footed rocker. There are 6 bonus tracks on the release, starting with the "single" version of Riding With Mary. Pared down and tight it's an essential track. Having a little fun with Marty Robbins' El Paso, Exene does a lead in to a real ripper of a track followed by an instrumental version of Because I Do. These instrumental interludes really show the musical power of this band.  Universal Corner is a live cut recorded at the Country Club in Rosedale, Ca. in 1982. A rowdy rocker with loose slung guitar solos this track is cool. A single mix of Breathless led by Excene is a fast paced rocker with very simple construction and rockabilly guitar riffs.  Nice! Wrapping the release is a live recording of How I (Learned My Lesson) recorded in Detroit in 1982. This track is a great conclusion with electric flare. Zoom lays it out there more live than on studio cuts and it really is a fitting conclusion to a super release.

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