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You Can Name It Yo' Mammy If You Wanna.... *
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Performer Notes
  • South Filthy: Jeffrey Evans, Jack "Oblivian" Yarber (guitar); Walter Daniels (harmonica); "Blind" Lary Warner (bass); Mike Buck (drums).
  • South Filthy: Msr. Jeffrey Evans (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar); Blind Lary Warner (double bass, bass guitar); Mike Buck, Walter Daniels, Jack Yarber.
  • Personnel: Jack Yarber (vocals, electric guitar, organ, percussion); Walter Daniels (vocals, harp, harmonica, saxophone, tenor saxophone); Texacala Jones (vocals); John Schooley (slide guitar); Jeff Bouck (trumpet, percussion); Mike Mariconda (piano, organ); Mike Buck (drums); Jimbo Mathus (background vocals).
  • Additional personnel: Jeff Bouck (trumpet, percussion); Jimbo Mathus, Mike Mariconda, Texacala Jones, John Schooley.
  • Audio Mixers: Ryan Anderson; Mike Mariconda.
  • Recording information: Sounds On Seventh, Austin, TX.
  • Photographer: Helen Daniels.
  • Here's a day in the life of a CD by the band South Filthy, a collaboration between musicians from Austin and Memphis that right away makes an impression with sleazy cover photography. The title of the project is You Can Name It Yo' Mammy If You Wanna..., establishing a connection with an outburst by blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson II that was preserved for posterity on a much-loved reissue. In fact, this same studio dialogue also inspired a band name: Little Village. The connection with Chicago blues and amplified harmonica turns out to be an almost-constant factor in the South Filthy sound thanks to harp blower Walter Daniels, no matter what stylistic route a particular song takes or what member of the group is doing the lead vocal.
  • The combined factors of artwork, band name, album name, and quite a few of the songs themselves, at first establish the vibe associated with the types of bands that get booked onto festivals such as Chapel Hill North Carolina's famous Sleazefest. The presence of drummer Mike Buck automatically pushes South Filthy somewhat ahead of that pack, as it means tempos and feels will be accurate and delivered with panache. So instrumentally, things are cooking, and on the CD's premier trial the volume gets turned up by the second track, a cover of Buck Owens' "Hot Dog" in which the drummer nails the tempo as if calmly guiding traffic across the state of Tennessee.
  • The opener, "Bad Girl," has already established that producer Mike Mariconda has figured out how to get a sound that is both dirty, low-budget, and attractive. There is a sense of overload looming perilously close; like there's a truck backed up to the front window of the recording studio about to unload buckets of grease and other slop. This seems to be an important part of the group's sound and during the final "Surfin' in Death Valley" it's more like the truck is unloading then just about to. Yet on that first listen through the CD, it is none of the raucous action that really commands the most attention. No. It is, in contrast, a track entitled "Sandra Lynn's Blues," a slow country song-story written and sung by Jeffrey Evans, one of the Memphis players. This is absolutely devastating, a first-take performance that can hold its own against many classic country and western recordings in the realm of what might best be called dark sentimentality.
  • This song stops the album cold, makes the listener go back for a repeat play, then another, and then another. By the time all that is done, it is hard to remember anything much about the rest of the tracks, other than that they were sort of fun. Yet the praise for Evans shouldn't be overblown, since his other song, "Spyder Blues," is in parts annoyingly similar in tempo and structure. Here is where a producer or bandmember should have insisted on more variety, or on some kind of arrangement that would have reduced the uncomfortable feeling that the previous song is being recapped. At any rate, the superb "Sandra Lynn's Blues" is then tested on an extremely difficult audience -- a 15-year-old girl -- to see if it is as good as it seems to be. The test takes place during an era when the success of a country rock duo track by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock has proven the viability of ballad song-stories with teenyboppers.
  • "This is really good," is the subject's reaction to the song, although she doesn't hang around long enough for the final act, in which the songwriter gives his story an unexpected twist, at least by the standards of similar songs such as "Down in the Boondocks" or "The Dark Side of Town." Evans pushed the envelope in terms of the number of verses, creating a challenge that is undoubtedly worthwhile, but goes on longer than a teenage girl's gap between incoming phone calls.
  • Another listen to the entire CD is in order to try to overcome the initial memory-blotting caused by the Evans song. This second pass brings to attention "Robin's Theme," a strong performance that will be of interest to listeners who enjoy the work of Texacala Jones, a guest artist once associated with the band Tex and the Horseheads. A Howlin' Wolf cover brings forth some deep blowing from Daniels and is as much about the Captain Beefheart sound as Chicago blues. A cover of "When the Saints Go Marching In" is a clever choice to relieve the emotional aftermath of a certain song about which too much has been said, and things continue cooking directly thereafter with a version of "L.A. County Jail" by Jeffrey Lee Pierce. ~ Eugene Chadbourne
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