Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs

13 Years of Bad Road

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Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs just keep tossing out one unpretentious blast of roots rock after another, and 1999's 13 Years of Bad Road is every bit as fun as the rest of 'em. A 1997 live gig in which the trio is spotted by a horn section and other guest musicians, this album is a neatly concise primer in what the band does. Basically, imagine a southwestern NRBQ minus Terry Adams' Dada daffiness and free jazz tendencies, with bits of conjunto and norteño seamlessly integrated into the rockabilly and soul influences. Highlights include the band's signature tune, "Una Mas Cerveza," given a hilarious high-drama spoken word intro, and a truly fantastic medley combining a slow, bluesy version of Freddy Fender's country weepie "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" with Fernando Maldonado's conjunto staple "Volver, Volver," but the entirety of the lengthy set is wildly entertaining, even the lengthy swing revival set-closer, "Jump for Jive," which in lesser hands would sound like stylistic pandering to a then-fashionable craze. Newbies might want to start here for a quick introduction to what Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs are all about, but long-term fans will be just as happy.

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