The Paladins

Million Mile Club

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While they've always made solid albums, the tough but soulful blues-rock stew of the Paladins has always been best appreciated in a live setting, and while the band's live disc Million Mile Club isn't quite the next best thing to being there, it really does come a good both closer to capturing the band's best qualities than anything they serve up in the studio. If Dave Gonzalez isn't the flashiest axeman in roots rock, his blues-based style is both lean and powerful, and he has more than enough energy to drive these tunes in style, and bassist Thomas Yearsley and drummer Jeff Donavan are just the sort of no-nonsense strongmen you'd want to have in your corner for a string of dates in sweaty West Coast blues clubs, which is where these tracks were recorded. Together, the Paladins serve up a man-sized portion of meat-and-potatoes rock and blues on Million Mile Club, with more beef and less garnish than you usually get from the band's studio recordings, and even the two ten-minute-plus guitar workouts don't wear out their welcome. Hard to say how this band ended up on 4AD, but if they were looking to change their image into something tougher, the stripped-to-the-frame roadhouse stomp of Million Mile Club was certainly the sort of thing that would do the trick.

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