Nine Pound Hammer

Sex, Drugs and Bill Monroe

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Groups such as Rank & File and Lone Justice were called "country punk" circa 1982 (just for not being lame), but it wasn't until Mike Ness covered Johnny Cash and this Owensboro, KY group hit, that such a link-up was achieved. On their sixth studio LP in 20 years (they were defunct for years, and Blaine Cartwright started Nashville Pussy), they crank up gnarly axes ‘n' speed and hit like a buckin' bronc. And they're mean riffers, with Sun Records' hillbilly-rockabilly flavorings brought into punk's guitars even more directly than X. (Dig that traditional lap steel on "Mama's Doin' Meth Again," though.) This kicks like MC5 and Radio Birdman if they loved outlaw C&W as much as Chuck Berry, and the opening "I'm Your Huckleberry" is like a sped-up Stooges' "1970" for 2008. Just try to ride this bull, cowboy!

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