The Count Bishops

Rollin' with the Count Bishops

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Chiswick, via U.K. reissue specialists Ace Records, released the Rollin' with the Count Bishops EP in 2006 as part of a celebration of the band reuniting to play a 30th anniversary party for Chiswick. This isn't a straight reissue -- the label has dug out two unreleased rarities from the vault, the title track "Rollin'" and a studio version of "I Don't Like It," and paired them with two of the Bishops' standards, the nasty, chugging Chuck Berry rocker "Too Much, Too Soon" and a pummeling cover of "I Want Candy," which does away with any cutesy come-ons and is nothing but brute force. That kind of primal energy was the Count Bishops' stock-in-trade, and the interesting thing about "Rollin'" is that it has very little of it: it's the lighter, melodic side of the band, the side that is rolling instead of rocking. It's a pretty appealing tune, not too far removed from the pop sensibilities of Brinsley Schwarz even if the Bishops can't help but feel rough even when the melodies get sweeter. That roughness is heard on the mean-spirited blues boogie "I Don't Like It," which might not be quite as vicious as it was live, but it still really snarls. Taken as a whole, this isn't quite as powerful as the classic proto-punk Speedball EP, but since there's so little of the Count Bishops at their peak, it doesn't quite matter: these two songs are good enough that they justify the purchase of this latter-day EP for anybody who has ever loved the band.

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