Another album on lovely coloured vinyl (this one is purple) and one that should really be discussed after you’ve read what I have to say about their next but one album (“Youth Detention…”, where I first encountered them). But as chronology doesn’t work like that you’ll have to wait a couple of days, so here goes.
I was lucky enough to tour the USA on a number of occasions and, while there, some of us developed a liking for Country Music and the music of the South, the folk music of immigrant America perhaps. This will manifest itself in this collection with records by Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams and in a more recent incarnation the Drive-By Truckers, Steve Earle, Jason Isbell and the marvellously monikered Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires.
Lee Bains comes out of the punk rock scene in Birmingham Alabama and is a former member of Tuscaloosa Southern Rockers The Dexateens. NPR radio in the US described he and The Glory Fires as “punks revved up by the hot-damn hallelujah of Southern rock”. This is their debut album and fair reeks of the South, from Bains drawl to the slinky Skynyrd-like guitar lines. It passes in style from straight Skynyrd style Southern Rock (“Ain’t No Stranger” and “The Red Red Dirt Of Home”) right through to Country, “Reba” is a straight up Country ballad and “Roebuck Parkway” is a beautiful slice of acoustic Americana, with a hint of their Punk past sprinkled along the way. If you’re familiar with the Drive-By Truckers we’re in the same ballpark (to appropriate an American idiom) with songs about and rooted in the South and it’s problems.
There is as much religion in these song (it’s said the title of this album stems from a mishearing of the spiritual “There Is A Balm In Gilead”, The Balm of Gilead being a Biblical medicine that can heal sinners) as there is liberal righteous ire…that feels appropriately Southern Gothic…
There Is A Bomb In Gilead - https://youtu.be/_QUPj9CBpD4