Various Artists

Root Damage

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AllMusic Review by

Root Damage is a two-disc, 49-track look at Sympathy for the Record Industry's blues output between 1989 and 2003. The label has long been a proud bastion of loud, raucous sounds from the garage and anywhere else music is played with abandon. Their approach to the blues over the years has been similar, and the fruits of their efforts make for a filthy listening experience. The artists they have recorded range from the authentic Southern sounds of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and CeDell Davis to the classic punk-blues of the Gun Club, '68 Comeback, and Panther Burns to the Childish British blues of Holly Golightly, Dan Melchior, and the man himself, Billy Childish, to the country blues of the Reigning Sound, Mark Spitz Freestyle, and Monsieur Jeffrey Evans to the modern supercharged punk-blues of the Soledad Brothers, Mr. Airplane Man, and Pearlene. The highlights of the set are quite plentiful, but the best of them are former Flamin' Groovie Chris Wilson's drunken acoustic "Dark Haired Girl," the Kirby Grips' country blues at the junior prom-sounding "Needless," the Deadly Snakes' yowling "Love Undone," Wreckless Eric's boozy "Harry's Flat," the Gibson Brothers' manic "Memphis Chicken," and an early lo-fi track from Beck, "Leave Me on the Moon." The disc flows as easily as the cheap beer in the kind of rundown dive you can picture most of these bands playing in. Add to the great music some illuminating liner notes by label boss Long Gone John and you end up with a package well worth the effort of tracking down by anyone with even a faint interest in indie punk-blues, as well as anyone who digs the winners of the punk-blues sweepstakes, the White Stripes.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:46 Spotify
2 2:10 Spotify
3 2:21 Spotify
4 3:02 Spotify
5
3:25 Spotify
6
4:08 Spotify
7 3:23 Spotify
8 3:06 Spotify
9
2:17 Spotify
10 2:38 Spotify
11 3:10 Spotify
12
2:43 Spotify
13
2:56 Spotify
14
3:24 Spotify
15
1:54 Spotify
16 3:09 Spotify
17 4:32 Spotify
18 3:16 Spotify
19
2:17 Spotify
20
3:42 Spotify
21
2:27 Spotify
22 3:11 Spotify
23
2:30 Spotify
24 2:39 Spotify
25
2:27 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick