Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Goose Creek Symphony - Established 1970 (1970 us, beautiful earthy instrumentation country folk vibes, 2000 reissue)

In the intersection of country and rock, sometimes  a band comes along who clearly bit the country bug enough to get the right chops, but for some reason not enough to take it entirely serious. To my ears, Goose Creek Symphony’s debut, Established 1970, has a an overly slack-jawed approach – perhaps a cool nod that this hillbilly thing is just for kicks.  But much like Ween’s brilliant Nashville foray, 12 Golden Country Greats, the music is too damn good to write off.

Charlie’s Tune exemplifies my issue: they sing a little like phony bumpkins with a jaw harp, though the guitar is choogling and it grooves just right, you’re still embarrassed to play it in public. Luckily their cover of Satisfied Mind reads perfect and may be the one of the best I’ve heard. Talk About Goose Creek takes the irony even further, however, the jaw harp louder, ‘home on the range’ lyrics cheezier, but the groove is even more infectious with some bad ass drum work taking things for a psyched out ride.

Mostly, only a few tracks are this polarizing. Beautiful Bertha and Confusion are solid stoned rockers, Raid on Brush Creek and Big Time Saturday Night both nail The Band’s americana strike zone, and closing ballad Symphony Music rounds out the record with breezy rural rock.

I have been totally split on Est. 1970 but finally given in, and hard. There is no way to disqualify Goose Creek’s authenticity, their Arizona/Kentucky roots are for real and they’ve stayed true to their boldly unique style for many years now. I guess I have had the same problem with the Dillards in that the singing can, sometimes, just sound too faux-billy (or maybe it’s records that open with I’ll Fly Away). All I’ll say now is I love the record regardless, and you be the judge.
by Brendan McGrath
1. I’ll Fly Away (Albert E. Brumley) - 1:19
2. Charlie’s Tune - 4:34
3. A Satisfied Mind (Jack Rhodes, Red Hayes) - 3:25
4. Confusion - 3:25
5. No News Is Good News (Michael McFadden) - 3:52
6. Talk About Goose Creek And Other Important Places - 8:22
7. Beautiful Bertha - 3:09
8. Raid On Brush Creek In ’39 - 1:40
9. Big Time Saturday Night - 3:22
10.Symphony Music - 4:48
All songs by Charles Gearheart except where noted.

*Charles Gearheart - Lead Vocals, Guitars
*David Birkett - Bass
*Michael McFadden - Guitar
*Paul Howard - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Henke - Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Chris Lockheart - Drums
*Pat Moore - Bass
*Paul Spradlin - Electric Guitar
*Jim Tolles - Fiddle
*Harold Williams - Horn
*Fred Wise - Fiddle
*Randall Bramblett - Horn
*Steve Forman - Horn Arrangements

Related Act
1967 The Superfine Dandelion - The Superfine Dandelion 

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