Thursday, June 18, 2020

Brownsville Station - Yeah! (1973 us, stunning greasy garage rock sleazy glam rock)

Formed in 1969 by Cub Koda, who later reaped the title as an honorable music historian, Brownsville Station issued a trio of albums prior to harvesting honey with this disc. Although such efforts received kind reviews, they failed to generate substantial sales. Despite the lack of vinyl interest, the Ann Arbor, Michigan band busted their butts touring the local circuit, where they drew a fanatical following.

Released in August 1973, Yeah! (Big Tree Records) featured Brownsville Station’s breakthrough hit, “Smokin’ In The Boys Room,” which zoomed to No. 3 on the national charts. Reflecting a wild orgy between Alice Cooper, the J. Geils Band, Slade and Paul Revere and the Raiders, the obnoxious ode to sneaking ciggies in the school’s loo, clanked, crunched and cackled to a raunchy repertoire of thumping rhythms and shouting choruses. A dozen years down the road, Motley Crue covered “Smokin’ In The Boys Room,” which cracked the Top 20.

Nearly every track on Yeah! could qualify as a jukebox favorite. It’s easy to hear how much fun Brownsville Station had singing and playing these punchy songs smacking of beer stains and the smell of nicotine. The band appears as if they have nary a care in the world. They eat, sleep and breathe rock and roll, and are thrilled to pieces to be sharing their passion with those willing to lend an ear.

Additional winners offered on Yeah! include the brawny bash and flash of “All Night Long” and the senselessly catchy “Let Your Yeah Be Your Yeah,” while a ripping revision of Hoyt Axton’s “Lightnin’ Bar Blues” and a spirited take of the Balloon Farm’s psychedelic scented “Question Of Temperature” should also be given special attention.

Carpeted with vintage guitar riffs gone mad, trashy drumming, shrill harmonica fills and wise-guy vocals, Yeah! serves as a scruffy synthesis of greasy garage rock, party hearty hard rock, bluesy boogie rock and sleazy glam rock. Relentlessly energetic, the album aptly blends slivers of corniness with killer sounds. Yeah! indeed…
by Beverly Paterson

With ten great songs, Yeah! is an album that lives up to its name -- quite possibly the only fully realized LP the band ever made. Eight covers, all given the treatment, and two originals -- one of which sold two million copies. Yeah! is the quintessential "nice little record" -- it won't take up a lot of your time, and it's got a very friendly vibe to it. The cover songs span a wide variety of musical styles, which isn't that surprising, considering that guitarist/vocalist Cub Koda has a deep knowledge of music history. From Hoyt Axton's "Lightning Bar Blues" to then-unknown Jimmy Cliff's "Let Your Yeah Be Yeah" to Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane," the band pumps out all of its songs in a chugging, lighthearted manner that ends up being nothing but fun. 

Lead vocals were previously the exclusive domain of bassist Michael Lutz, but Koda emerges as a singer as well; Lutz may have been the more prototypical rock singer, but it was Koda's sleazy, nasal snarl that worked to perfection on the classic hit single "Smokin' In the Boys Room." While the success of "Smokin" opened a lot of doors for the band, it also pigeonholed them in such a way as to render them almost un-arrestable only a couple of years later. Between their wild onstage antics and the fact that the follow-up album, School Punks, was a blatant attempt at cashing in, the band lost a lot of the credibility they had earned by playing straight-ahead rock & roll. Although Brownsville Station would never again capture the magic here, Yeah! easily stands the test of time -- it's truly delightful. 
by Geoff Ginsberg
1. Question Of Temperature (Mike Appel, Ed Schnug, Don Henny) - 3:31
2. Lightnin' Bar Blues (Hoyt Axton) - 2:52
3. Take It Or Leave It (H. Cardell) - 3:00
4. All Night Long (Mike Lutz, Cub Koda) - 2:55
5. Let Your Yeah Be Yeah (Jimmy Cliff) - 3:37
6. Sweet Jane (Lou Reed) - 3:02
7. Love, Love, Love (Terry Knight) - 2:55
8. Go Out And Get Her (Doug Morris) - 2:56
9. Barefootin' (Robert Parker) - 2:55
10.Smokin' In The Boy's Room (Mike Lutz, Cub Koda) - 2:57

Brownsville Station
*Cub Koda - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Mike Lutz - Bass, Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Henry H Bomb Weck - Drums, Vocals

1970  Brownsville Station - No BS
1972  Brownsville Station - A Night on the Town (2005 edition)
1974  Brownsville Station - School Punks 

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