Mississippi Mudsharks

Train Rolls On

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Formed in 1992 by guitarist Scottie "Mad Dog" Blinn and drummer Tom Essa, the Mississippi Mudsharks were favorites on the San Diego roots rock scene for over half-a-decade before applying the brakes in 2000, which makes Train Rolls On a reunion of sorts. A power trio (Mike Lars handles the bass duties) specializing in a kind of punk blues driven by Blinn's gruff, Wolfman Jack-like vocals and blistering slide playing, the Sharks open the throttle here on the title track and then never look back, blasting through an impressive set of bluesy voodoo rock. Among the highlights are the classic "Train Rolls On," the template for most of what these guys do, "Throw It in the Hole," which sounds like a rocking Tom Waits out in front of a top-notch power trio, the spooky and gliding "Devil's Road," given additional eerie atmosphere by guest Johnny Smokes' pedal steel playing, and the straight blues "Can't Put Down the Drink," which shows that Blinn can gear down and play this stuff clean when he chooses to. This is no-nonsense punk blues with pedigree and attitude, but filled too with subtle variety and flashes of humor, and it shows an intelligent band with clear purpose behind all the bluster and power.

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