Originally released on In The Red imprint in early 1992, and reissued by John Fahey’s Revenant imprint five years later, Bassholes' debut, BLUE ROOTS, served as something of a rebuke to garage rockers who treated their influences with kitschy irreverence. While outfits like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion served up feedback-drenched rockers with tongues firmly planted in cheeks, Bassholes’ John Rowland approached traditional numbers like “Judge Harsh Blues” with an unnerving seriousness that emphasized the unfettered spirit of violence and chaos implicit in songs like “Stack O’Lee.” Though the playing on BLUE ROOTS is occasionally ragged to the point of incoherence, Rowland and his drummer Rich Lillash play with an inspired abandon unparalleled amongst their contemporaries. One would have to go back to the early sides cut by Link Wray, or the home recordings of Hasil Adkins, to find something as legitimately unhinged as this seminal garage rock document.
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AllMusic Review by James Steiner