Listen: Mama / Alabama Shakes
Never did I think a band would magically marry The Cramps to early Big Brother & The Holding Company. But lo and behold, Alabama Shakes have done just that with ‘Mama’. Now I love this band, and I’m rooting for them big time. I want them to win. Some of the same folks who championed these kids seem to already be dismissing their debut album for not being up to snuff. Trust me, that’s a crock of shit.
Angus Baskerville tipped me to Alabama Shakes last November, urging me to see them when they came through New York. Best advice I’ve had on a new band in years. I won’t miss them live ever.
‘Mama’ is the second of two songs hidden on the B side of their ‘Heavy Chevy’ 7″. I’ve played it about twenty times this past weekend. Wow, ‘Mama’ is beautiful but badly recorded, although not in my world mind you. To me it’s ugly and perfectly documented, just as I like it. Chances are the former may be how the pros in the know heard it, hence ending up as a throwaway B side.
Listen: I Can’t Hardly Stand It / The Cramps
‘I Can’t Hardly Stand It’, with one of Lux Interior’s most priceless vocals, was slotted as song two on side B of their ‘Drug Train’ single. It became one of the band’s classics.
Likewise, ‘Mama’, also song two on side B of a single, will be regarded similarly in the world of Alabama Shakes. Yet another detail in common with The Cramps. Looks like the stars are lining up for greatness to me.
May 21 and 22 at Roseland Ballroom can’t come quick enough.