Personnel: Kid Congo Powers (vocals, guitar, slide guitar, maracas); Jeffrey Lee Pierce (vocals, guitars, bells); Terry Graham (bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, hi-hat, tom tom); Patricia Morrison (maracas, background vocals).
Recording information: Ocean Way Studios (03/1984-04/1984).
Photographers: Gary Silva; Margot Reyes; Craig Aurness; Tom Campbell.
The tragedy of the Gun Club's third album, The Las Vegas Story, is that it was largely ignored by both critics and fans due to the mixing and mastering disaster that marred its predecessor, Miami -- an album that was full of great songs and performances but was so marred by poor sound that it sounded lifeless. Both records were issued by Chris Stein's Animal label. The Las Vegas Story was produced by Jeff Eyrich who was just coming off T-Bone Burnett's Proof Through the Night project and was about to enter the studio with both the Plimsouls and Thin White Rope. Its lineup features the return of original guitarist Kid Congo Powers, as well as drummer Terry Graham and new bassist Patricia Morrison (aka Pat Bag) from L.A. punk outfit the Bags. Late frontman /guitarist Jeffrey Lee Pierce was writing feverish rock & roll songs that took their inspiration from Southern blues and West Texas country music all framed by an angular, jagged post-punk energy. The screaming rawness at the heart of the band's debut, Fire of Love, had been replaced by a dry, moaning lonesome, percussion heavy desert sound, space and echo float through the mix like a ghost through Pierce's slide guitar playing. Bass drum and tom-toms fuel the attack with a basic, primitive nocturnal energy. Topics ranged from personal disintegration in "Walkin' with the Beast," and the country-blues-drenched "Eternally Is Here," and the shambolic, two-step country confusion of "My Dreams" that quotes directly from Television's "Marquee Moon" to the disappearance of the nation in "Bad America"'s edgy guitar wrangle. There are a couple of covers on the set tossed right in the center of the album: "The Master Plan," a spooky, brooding, rock read of Pharoah Sanders' and Leon Thomas' "The Creator Has a Master Plan," and a slovenly, funereal version of "My Man's Gone Now," by George and Ira Gershwin from Porgy and Bess. The Las Vegas Story is a provocative record that reveals the Gun Club was pulled in many directions at once, and though the tension is in evidence on every track, it nonetheless holds together. After Fire of Love, The Las Vegas Story is their most satisfying album and is, perhaps, the band's most visionary offering. ~ Thom Jurek
Mojo (Publisher) (p.112) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]here's plenty here with soul and substance."