Jersey Beat -Music Fanzine

April, 2008.

CD Reviews:

Box Car Satan & Ghostwriter -
Hobo Nouveau

Thirsty for a little Southern musical comfort, of the swampy, blues rock variety with some John Hiatt lyrical wisdom thrown in for good measure? Well, "Saddle up a buzz-buzz" as The Cramps would say (I was wondering how long it would take me to find just the right time - over ten years - to use that line). Like their cultural brethren, Southern Culture on the Skids, or Rev. Horton Heat, this CD brings together a gargantuan gumbo of musical genres to the dinner table. Hobo Nouveau features those devilish dervishes of musical mayhem, Box Car Satan collaborating with self-proclaimed one-man-band of post-modern punk, Ghostwriter. Songs like, "Disarray," "Dead Man's Hand," or "People" convey the back porch fell of a couple of good ol' boys stomping, and banging out rough tunes with raw spirit, as authentic as anything the aforementioned bands could muster. These 13 songs fit more with songwriters like Willie Dixon and the Chicago bluesmen of yesteryear. Minimalist clatter-and-strum are substantially invigorating on covers like Dylan's "Serve Somebody" and Townes Van Zandt's "Blaze's Blues. They play " Woody Guthrie's "Jesus Christ" close to the vest, as it's performed with just a quiet guitar, bass, drums, and vocal. More true to Wood's version than I've heard in a while (U2 did a full-throttle version a few years back on a tribute album to Woody, "A Vision Shared"). Unless you check the copyright date (2008) you'll swear that this nasty, rockabilly unit existed two decades back. Now there's something to stomp about!

                                                                                                                                                                                            - Phil Rainone

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