There is a good reason why a lot of '70s and '80s punk bands were attracted to '50s rockabilly and '60s garage rock. Punks, in many cases, craved rawness and simplicity, and neither of those things are hard to find in early rock & roll. Singer Tav Falco and his band Panther Burns were among the '80s/'90s bands that combined a rootsy outlook with a punky attitude. Falco wasn't slick or terribly polished; in fact, albums like Return of the Blue Panther totally rebelled against slickness. Recorded in Memphis in 1990, this collection of garage rock, blues-rock, and rockabilly certainly doesn't sound overproduced. Falco makes a point of keeping things as rough and raw as possible; if anything, he wanted to make Return of the Blue Panther (which was produced by Panther Burns bassist Rene Coman) sound like either hi-fi '50s mono or early stereo -- he certainly wasn't looking for an ultra-clean digital sound. Whether Falco and Panther Burns are turning their attention to Hank Snow's "I'm Moving On" or Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman," this CD is consistently earthy and raw -- so raw, in fact, that Falco's outfit ends up sounding like a bar band. There is certainly a lot of bar band appeal on tracks like "You Believe Everyone But Me," "Knot in My Pocket," and "I Got Love if You Want It," all of which make you feel like you have wandered into a dive that is cool and dingy at the same time. Return of the Blue Panther isn't remarkable or mind-blowing, but it's a sincere, decent celebration of rock & roll's most primal instincts.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson