REVIEW: SUPERSUCKERS – Holdin’ The Bag (2016)


Eddie and the good Ol’ boy’s return

Eddie Spaghetti, talking in the build up to the release of this – an actual bonafide country album from Supersuckers – about his love for the direct approach of country. This is no surprise, given the straight talking approach of the man himself (MV interviewed the singer in 2013 and it was a genuinely terrifying but exciting experience). And as he put it himself: “if you don’t like this album you really don’t like the Supersuckers.”

Well, three things then: one, we love the Supersuckers. Two, we love country, and three, “Holdin’ is exceptional.

Given that Eddie spent – before the throat cancer he is still recovering from struck him down – years screaming about the evil powers of rock n roll, then “…..Bag” isn’t as much of a left turn as it would be for some bands. For 20 years almost there’s always been a kind of yee-haw feel about the bands most honest rock n roll, and in many ways this is natural for them – after all they were doing split CDs with Steve Earle and appearing on his albums as far as back as the 1990’s. More than that it’s very much the companion piece to 2013’s incredible “Get To Hell” record.

What makes this so superb is that very honesty that Spaghetti has talked about. “Holdin’ The Bag” never feels like a pastiche, or a band “going country” for a laugh. It feels as about as authentic as anything you can possibly imagine.

Whether it’s the title track, which kicks things off with the feel of a second line on Treme in New Orleans (and is possibly the only song in history to contain the word “befuddling”), the breezy “High And Outside” – which shares an intro with The Stones “Dead Flowers – or the old-time “Do What I Can”, this is the work of men who loved making the record.

A couple of special guests add to the feel, Hayes Carll appears on “This Life….With You”, with its accordion and the feel of the aforementioned Steve Earle, while Lydia Lawless duets on the mournful “I Can’t Cry”.

Elsewhere “……Bag” contents itself with being a pretty marvellous honky-tonk rabble rouser. “Let’s Bounce” is brilliant, and along the way manages to insult just about everyone on the planet, “Jibber Jabber” occupies the same lyrical lane as Chas and Dave’s “Rabbit Rabbit” and is just as much fun, and “Shimmy And Shake” really cuts loose and is perhaps the closet in feel to the bands usual work.

Ending with Hank Williams Jr’s “All My Rowdy Friends” is a master stroke. Trad country and a superb song, this version is updated to include mention of – amongst others – Lemmy.

If anything captured the essence of this record it’s that song. Respectful to the greats, its also been given a Supersuckers makeover and is all the better for it.

So yeah, if you don’t like this record, then no you probably don’t like Supersuckers. The rest of us, did you ever doubt it? Country and Western? It’s in the bag.

Rating 8.5/10

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