Monday, March 1, 2010

West Texas Sound

A few years back, I was talking to a friend of mine about Neil Young's guitar playing, and he said: "You've gotta be really good to play that badly." I knew exactly what he meant. The same can be said for singers who scream-- the best ones are great singers to begin with. Look no further than James Brown. In my opinion, there's no greater screamer in American music of recent years than Greg Cartwright, who happens to be a great singer as well.

By the photograph and title of this post, you may have thought you were gonna get some of Marty Robbins' Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs. Sorry, that's not the case. Cartwright, a veteran of several seminal Memphis punk bands, was fronting the Reigning Sound (with whom he has since relocated to Asheville NC), when the Toronto band The Deadly Snakes came through town and asked him to produce their second record, I'm Not Your Soldier Anymore. Cartwright, not only produced it, but played and sang with the band, most notably on a track called "West Texas Sound." I'm not exactly sure what this song is about, but I get, and it's riveting, forceful, and driving punk rock. Below, is the said track, as well as some other excellent examples of Cartwright's vocal prowess, including two versions of "If You Can't Give Me Everything," screamed and then sung.

photos: by Ted Barron © 2010.
top: Near El Paso, 1987.
below: Reigning Sound, Brooklyn, NY, 2006.


"West Texas Sound" mp3
by The Deadly Snakes, 2001.
available on I'm Not Your Soldier Anymore

"Talk To Me" mp3
by the Oblivians, 1995.
available on The Best of the Worst: 93-97

"Stop & Think It Over" mp3
by the Compulsive Gamblers, 2000.
available on Crystal Gazing Luck Amazing

"Straight Shooter" mp3
by the Reigning Sound, 2002.
available on Time Bomb High School

"If You Can't Give Me Everything" mp3
by the Reigning Sound, 2004.
available on Too Much Guitar

"If You Can't Give Me Everything" mp3
by the Reigning Sound, 2005.
available on Home for Orphans


Cliff Westfall said...

Nice post, Ted -- thanks.

Anonymous said...

This shit is raw.

bob said...

freakin' great thank's

jim said...

be that as it may, JUMPIN AT THE WOODSIDE is still the world's best song

gih said...

I like it, great. Thanks.