P.W. Long


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Remembered Review

by Zac Johnson

Former Mule frontman P.W. Long has made a career of playing the whiskey-soaked loser, leading his ever-changing cast of backing musicians through swampy, bluesy, sad-sack songs involving drinkin', leavin', sinnin', and stays in the county jail. On the 2003 Touch and Go release Remembered, these themes resurface with Long's familiar growl and biting guitar stomp. His snarling guitar lines often barely seem to be under control -- screaming and feeding back like an industrial accident, while his band tries to hang on with a loose, raw battery of drumming and bass playing, seemingly honed by nights in bars playing to nobody but themselves. Long's plaintive cry comes to a frenzied head on the spitting, repentant "Court House," recounting the tale of a man sentenced to a four-week stay with no good cause. While jailhouse rock has been done before, Long makes it as believable as Johnny Cash did, and since both share the same kind of working-class, tough-guy, busted-knuckle, rattlesnake-eyed persona, the stink and sweat of the cell becomes almost palpable. Like a ragged dime store detective novel or peeling the label off a bottle of PBR, P.W. Long delivers a uniquely American tough-luck experience illustrating hard men and harder times, making his stories breathe with fascinating life and terrifying honesty.

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