Los Angeles' the Hangmen were the original cowpunks, doing it before and better than bands like the Supersuckers (Eddie Spaghetti has called them, "one of my favorite bands of all time"). Bandleader/singer/guitarist Bryan Small moved from Idaho to Los Angeles in 1984 and formed the group, driven by the amazing output of bands like the Gun Club and X. After a lot of buzz and major-label mishaps with their 1989 Capitol debut, the members of the band struggled with addiction and the label's rejection of their sophomore album. 2000's Metallic I.O.U. may have marked a strong return for this Johnny Cash-meets-the Stooges-and-AC/DC band, but We've Got Blood on the Toes of Our Boots, recorded live at Swinghouse Studios, captures the true grit, dust, and raw power of the Hangmen better than a traditional studio album could. From the whoop-and-holler Southern California scum-punk of "Last Drive" to the ominous metal of "Walking in the Woods" to the Gun Club-meets-Gram Parsons desolation of "I Luv U," the Hangmen are Los Angeles to the core. Just listen to the glammed-up "My Way" where "the palms keep swaying" and "my mind is in the gutter." The Hangmen may have had their share of troubles, but We've Got Blood on the Toes of Our Boots proves they're a relentlessly relevant band who links Los Angeles' punk heyday with its country flair.
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AllMusic Review by Charles Spano