Wacoworld

waco1Songlist:

01 Nothing at all
02 Chosen few
03 Come a long way
04 Secrets
05 How fast the time
06 Lincoln town car
07 It’s amazing
08 On the sly
09 Drinkin & cheatin & death
10 Fantasy
11 Missing link
12 Rest of the world
13 Join the club

wacobro2Lyrics:

PIGSVILLE

have you ever been to pigsville, honey?
listened to cold water in the mountains of steel shavings
did you get drunk at the wheelhouse, honey?
stealing fifths of whiskey
when you thought noone was listening
nothing you’ve done to feel ashamed of

have you ever been to pigsville, honey?
like you did someething evil but the memory is fuzzy
did you wake up on the carpet, honey?
next to that chalk outline, next to impossible
no, there’s nothing you’ve done to feel ashamed of

HELLO TO EVERYBODY

say hello to everybody
won’t you say hello for me
you see I can’t go back and forth no more
at least physically
standing on the hill in tess’ corners
waiting for the aliens
to take me to a warmer planet
where there is no consequence
sometimes you treat your friendships
like some kind of pyramid scheme
do you get some kind of bonus
for everyone you reel in?

say hello to everybody
won’t you say hello for me
from now on i’ll just imagine
i’m in the perfect company
it was coming down in buckets
so i duck into the dew drop inn
i always keep one eye on the door
you never know, you could spot a friend
when they fit me for my casket
what will they say about me?
“he met a lot of beautiful places
and he loved a lot of interesting things”
say hello to everybody
won’t you say hello for me
say hello

FIRE DOWN BELOW

In the texas whirlwind
with the robber’s tag
we did the grapevine twist
and the one night stand
square pegs in a round world
when it all comes down
nowhere else to go
fire down below

she had graveyard eyes
and bedroom tears
twisted sheets and irrational fears
she had a bleeding heart
and soft money to blow
nowhere else to go
fire down below

fire down below

poor poor barbarians
all busting chains
sweating bullets
back in the saddle again
we swallow the hook
and we lit the flames
nowhere else to go
fire down below

RED BRICK WALL

i’m standing in the alley with my hands on a red brick wall
seems the more i claim i’m innocent
the guiltier i become
since you left me baby, i’m never where i belong
seems no matter how i try
i just can’t stay out of wrong

got my hands behind my back
cuffs on my wrist
forget what i said earlier, baby
i’m not into this
standing in the alley with my hands on a red brick wall
seems the more i claim i’m innocent
the guiltier i become
on the day of his death i built jfk a shrine
i know just how he felt
i get murdered in texas everytime

THE HAND THAT THROWS THE BOTTLE DOWN

i had long suspected that we’d better be prepared
to give up on the notion that someone really cared
‘cos we’re walking in the daylight with the odds all stacking up
the hand that throws the bottle down won’t pick it back again

there goes the winner but the race was rigged
feel like a loser? well the fright was fixed
i don’t believe in fairplay and i don’t believe in luck
the hand that throws the bottle down won’t pick it back again

if i was born into the fast lane i’d go rollin on through
and you know i’m never ever going to slow down for you
i’ll be looking at a house that costs a million bucks
with a secret little doorway and a ladder i’d pull up

to protect their money men built banks
to protect the money they bought guns and tanks
the barrels are smoking and the chambers are hot
they’re no better than us they just got the better shot

with one arm tied behind the target on your back
you were born to take the fall you were bred to hit the mat
don’t expect a helping hand from someone up above
the hand that throws the bottle down won’t pick it back again

REGRETS

this world could never find me a place
i can’t make it long without being a disgrace
i’ve poured the whole bottle down my neck
and fallen on my face
this world could never find me a place

i’m gonna go out now and make some more regrets
i’m gonna take out anybody’s face that fits
i’ll drink that whole bottle of whiskey down
then smash it all to bits

i’m gonna go out now and make some more regrets
can’t say i never liked to lose a fight
but you crippled me with what you said last night
i’ll get that cheating friend of mine
and then i’ll set you right
can’t say i ever liked to lose a fight

TRAIN BACK IN TIME

please don’t cry little girl
this train goes back in time
returning to the station
returning there tonight

“go away from me, mister
save your cheer for someone else
tomorrow’s gone forever
like some long forgotten wealth”

although it’s hard to believe
you’ve been showing all the signs
returning to the station
this train goes back in time

DAY OF THE DEAD

the day of the dead is 24 hours long
the day of the dead is over for me
so sugar sweet, covered with flowers
and little white shells washed up by the sea

yes it’s all over, so make a decision
give up the ghosts now, the ashes and clay
come on over make a decision
pas like a shadow from night into day

gently gently, you’re moving over
out of the new world back into the last
all precious treasures we stood to inherit
are frozen in bank vaults somewehere in the past

when the dark of night fed you, when the sky clouded over
I could see your glass tremble, the limitless waste
so turn your back on tomorrow and that long black train rolling
pass like a shadow from night into day

BROKEN DOWN ROW

take your hand off the deadbolt don’t leave
wipe the tears from your eyes
cos i am not your enemy
can’t you see through my disguise
this cocaine’s got me ugly again i know
i was walking down the middle of the street
down a broken down row

saw an old friend i knew long ago
who had taken his sad life
said he couldn’t see an end to the pain
the struggling and strife
tripped on a curb turned round where did he go?
i was just coughing and spitting alone
on broken down row

these streets will be the death of me
if the bars don’t get me first
and i won’t get no better, oh no
before i get much worse
but now i know i love you, yes i know
please help me change my life
i can’t move down a broken down row

GOOD FOR ME

i know what’s good for me
i know what’s good but sometimes it’s good
to do all the other things
i know the preacher’s name
i know his name but nobody’s saying
don’t believe in what you see

i stole your heart
and i’m not giving it back
put it away in a shiny brass box
i stole your heart

cantina diablo
the walls are bright red, someone said
i can always find you there
devil be good to me
i know what’s good but sometimes it’s good
to do all the other things

CORRUPTED

i am so corrupted
i’m in partnership
with all the guilty treasures
that will sink this rusty ship
all the sinful cargo
that has dared to call my name
before it sends me back down
into the earth from which i came

red is the colour
of the city i call home
it’s the colour of the sky
above the streets where i roam
where now is the hour
and the hour is always late
the future’s a distraction
the past is a big mistake

he’ll take the hindmost
that devil in me
he’ll be the death
of my responsibilities
a leap in the dark
something over the hill
the devil may care
but i don’t think i will

raise your glass. raise your voice
and raise the dead
life’s run by too fast
too paint it anything but red
for a life of sin for a life of sin for a life of sin
there’s no calm before the storm that’s rollin in
in the crack of dawn in the dead of night
in the crack of doom
there’ll be peace in the valley on the dark side of the moon
on the day that i was born
no one gave me a map
but life can be a maze
yeah and life can be a trap
i’m a red rag to all the bull
i’m soaked in blood and wine
but i’ll paint myself back out
of this corner everytime

NORTHWOODS

old growth gives way to fertile valleys
are you lonely in the house you built
the city - it reeks of history
it’s so dramatic - insignificant

i was born
foot in my mouth
i was born
a little too far south
maybe we could stray off course for good
in the northwoods

tall trees, tall buildings and little taverns
are you lonely in the house you built?
they say the great ones all have premonitions
and i believe what i see at night

old growth gives way to fertile valleys
are you lonely in the house you built
and now they’re boarding up the project
could you be content?
is it finally enough?

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

out like a light in the dark of day
a phrase you repeated and then tossed away
feel the movement over water, the blade through the swell
a taxi driving slowly, backwards into hell
a grey light is flashing through the lashes to my brain
like bars on the window of the room where i lay

from the snap button shirt a pearly eye winks
red round the edges rolling backwards as we sink
the whiskey won’t drink me the song will not sing
the bed will ot sleep and we don’t feel a thing
can i tell you my friend, can i call you again
famous last words this is the end

Go to the top drown in my beer, soak me in wine
that’s why they called bars,’cos they keep me inside

Reviews:

Bloodshot says:

The hardest working (and hardest drinking) men in insurgent country return to the fray with a righteous attitude and a whole new slew of aces up their fringed sleeves. These songs are THICK, baby!! Coming across as the Rabid Country Bear Jamboree, the Brothers are programmed to smite until all country/alternative music poseurs are left torn and writhing in their wake.
WacoWorld kicks out over a dozen brand new whiskey and datachip fueled anthems, and features the crusading work of converts Rick “Cookin” Sherry (Devil in a Woodpile), Kelly Hogan, and Poi Dog Pondering’s horn section. The Waco Brothers deliver WacoWorld as a glimpse into the future of insurgent country–as it continues to define itself and stretch out big enough to include seemingly disparate influences like Hank Williams, Mick and Keith, Jimmy Cliff, and Morphine. The spirits are there—you just have to open a bottle and open your mind.

The beauty of it is the way the pieces all fit together. WacoWorld is lean and mean, like a boxer who’s spent weeks in training for the big fight. It’s primed, ready and it smells blood. When you listen to the Wacos, you can hear bits of other bands : Mick & Co, the Mekons , Hank Sr, and the great country soul bands of Memphis and places south. But what comes out could never be anyone other than the Waco Brothers; they’ve become much more than a sum of their influences. You can’t aim for timelessness, but if the ingredients are right, you might achieve it. And on “Waco World” the Waco Brothers have hit it spot on”
Chris Nickson, The Rocket

“You can’t line dance to the Waco Brothers, thank God - the appropriate listening posture is leaning against a bar, holding a drink in one hand and giving the Man the finger with the other.”
George Zahora, Splendid e-zine

“The Wacos deliver their dark, driving country-rock with all the delicacy of butchers on a bender.”
Chicago Tribune

“The Wacos’ latest puts the surge in insurgent country…these scrappy, rocking tales of wine, whiskey, women, and woe are as sharp and edgy as a broken bottle.”
Darryl Sterdan, Winnipeg Sun

“Pogues-y, piss ‘n’ vinegar hard country rock that remains great fun whether the subject at hand is broken hearts or broken bars. [The result is] just short of an hour’s worth of boozy tunes just beggin’ for a joint to blow the roof off of.”
The Stranger

“Their music is ten times more real than any cosmetically enhanced face on the country charts. If bands like the Waco Brothers ultimately wind up saving the heart and soul of country music for the 21st century, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.”
Manny Theiner, Pittsburgh Gazette

“Here, the band makes music that would fit neatly into the catalogs of the Pogues, Nick Cave, or The Faces; the Waco Brothers pull off such change-ups effortlessly.”
Scott Wilson, Pitch Weekly

“The Waco Brothers don’t jump on the No Depression covered wagon so much as take Go to the top the reins and drive drunkenly into a deadly pass where the heroes of punk rock and country lie in wait to mock lesser outfits.”
Alec Bemis, Boston Phoenix

From Playboy:

By Tad Hendrickson
Listening to the Waco Brothers’ whiskey-soaked tales of barroom prophets, disillusioned romantics and rugged individualists, you would think that this six-piece grew up in West Texas shooting prairie dogs, drinking Lone Star beer and drivin’ pick-’em-up trucks. Actually, this crew of hard-drinking rowdies, which includes English expat/Mekon Jon Langford, calls the Windy City home. And while they didn’t grow up on the range, they do manage to do its music justice, playing a gritty blend of country, rock and pop.
Showing a healthy reverence for the music, the Wacos put forth an honesty that’s all-too-rare in this era of poster boys in cowboy hats marketed to Wal-Mart shoppers. Pedal steel, guitar, mandolin, drums and sweat are the tools of the trade for these regular guys. Call it insurgent country, alt country, country rock or neo-honky-tonk, this band is just bent on having a good time playing music as human as they are, and that is the real brass ring. The Waco Brothers are a rough-hewn musical crew that tug on the heart strings as easily as the liver.
Review from No Drepession March 99:
Nothing quite compares to the six drunkard Waco Brothers squeezing onto that plank-of a stage at the annual Yard Dog party at SXSW and whipping up a bloody-good, supercharged country fury. Undoubtedly, it is an annual highlight, but it poses a Waco-specific problem: Without the live electricity, the boozy antics, the booze, and even Beatle Bob undulating unnaturally in the front row, Waco albums are not nearly the glon ous hybrid that the much-bandied Cash-meets-Clash description suggests. Instead, they’re more like a can of cheap-ass American beer as sipped by a professional pint puller.
WacoWorld, the Chicago band’s unimaginatively titled fourth studio effort, does not eliminate this nagging problem. lt’s still inevitable to imagine how even the collection’s most raucous songs - the swing minded “Red Brick Wall” and the surfabilly-licked “Good For Me” - will sound onstage. But WacoWorld does lessen the craving, mainly by being the band’s most far-reaching effort to date. Not just because of the pronouncement of horns, key boards and, in the case of the paranoid R&B moment “The Hand That Throws The Bottle Down”, icy-cool harmonies (courtesy Kelly Hogan), but be-cause the sextet sounds like they really, really tried.
Throughout, Jon Langford and gang are both rock-steady and spirited - bassist Alan Doughty, for one, delivers some insanely cool bass lines - and the production is just grown-up enough to sound, weIl, grown up. But ultimately, this is Deano Schlabowske’s album. His heavy blue-collar vocal presence is a delight, especially on the soon-to-be-abducted-by-aliens weeper “HeIlo To Everybody” and the outlawish “Red Brick Wall”. The latter features the brilliant salvo, “On the day of his death I built JFK a shrine / I know just how he felt / I get murdered in Texas every time.” A perfect Go to the top line, whether drunk at a shindig in the Lone Star State or in your own living room.
- NEAL WEISS

Curtis Ross

03/26/99

Tampa Tribune, (Copyright 1999)

The biggest favor you could ever do a Waco Brothers CD is never to see them live. In person, the Wacos come on like six banditos trapped in the bunker with nothing to lose. They’re surrounded and they’ve got nothing left to do but spend all the ammo and leave as many casualties as possible. Even if they ever make their own “Exile on Main Street” or “Grievous Angel,” they’ll never capture that on a 5-inch silver platter.
So for recording purposes, the Wacos show they can do other things: buoyant pop (”Day of the Dead”), steel guitar-drenched weepers (”Hello to Everybody”) and nasty, left-leaning social commentary disguised as working man’s blues (”Pigsville”).
The eclecticism reflects this band’s bizarre-for-even-alternative-country pedigree. Jon Langford is one of the Mekons, who were pillaging country’s roots a decade and a half ago. But the respective outfits of Mark Durante (KMFDM?!) and Alan Doughty (Jesus Jones?!) would seem to have little connection to the Kentucky hills of Hank Williams.
It may be that outsider status that lets the Wacos take chances with country music that the crop of bimbos and bimbettes being churned out by Nashville wouldn’t dare, much less think of in the first place. Hence the surf’s-up guitar of “Good for Me” and the sentiments of the same (I know what’s good for me / But sometimes it’s good / To do all the other things).
The Clash-meets-Johnny Cash analogy has been overused to describe this band (and probably ignores the fact that Cash got wilder and crazier than the Clash ever did). But it gives a hint of what the Brothers are capable of. Pray they visit Florida soon, and play “Wacoworld” real loud in the meantime.

Robert Christgau:

The more you listen to Jon Langford or see him live, where he’ll spout wisecracks for hours the more impressive his verbal facility seems. But Deano is an equal partner in this particular metaphor system, which defines country music as the great lost conduit of white male working-class desperation. Langford tends toward the grimly matter-of-fact: “That’s why they’re called bars, ‘cos they keep me inside.” “But I’ll paint myself back out/Of this corner everytime.” Deano is more visionary, as in “Pigsville,” where you wake up next to your own chalk outline, or “Hello to Everybody,” where aliens abduct you to “a warmer planet/Where there is no consequence.” Both sing so lustily that the band’s indifference to the niceties of country as it Go to the top exists in history is of no consequence. When the milder-voiced mandolinist Mr. Tracey Dear takes the mike, however, the illusion pales.

A Minus

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 1999, Volume 6, #3

Written by John Metzger

Transplanted Brit Jon Langford stands at the heart of the insurgent country revolution. Fresh from leading the Pine Valley Cosmonauts through a rousing tribute to western swing great Bob Wills, Langford is determined to remain firmly entrenched in the spotlight. Last year, he reunited the Waco Brothers to record Waco World, the band’s fourth album for Chicago’s Bloodshot Records and their first release since 1997.
These days, Langford and his band, which features guitarist Dean Schlabowske, steel and 12-string guitarist Mark Durante, mandolinist Tracey Dear, drummer Steve Goulding, and bassist Alan Doughty, have a better grasp of country music than Nashville does. However, they steer clear of blindly reproducing the classic country sound. Instead, Waco World continues Langford’s determination to put the final nail in the coffin of the alternative country movement by tightly wrapping the country sound in a thick cloak of pure punk angst. The result is a finely tuned, thirteen-song album that makes the connection between Hank Williams and The Clash.
Waco World is brimming with songs for the working man. Their lyrics are dark, desolate, and thoroughly drenched in a variety of fermented grains; their music is caught somewhere between a drunken brawl and the morning after.
Hello to Everybody cops a country-rock ballad straight from the Rolling Stones, but the Waco Brothers do it better than the Stones have in years. Durante’s steel guitar slips and slides underneath the melody, packing volumes of emotion in his understated presence.
On Red Brick Wall, the Waco Brothers update Little Willie John’s Leave My Kitten Alone, creating a supercharged, adrenaline-pumping number that features honky-tonk piano and Poi Dog Pondering’s horn section. As the song concludes, Goulding kick-starts The Hand that Throws the Bottle Down, sending the group careening in a totally different direction. A powerful bass line laces the song with an animated undercurrent that guides the tune through its shimmering groove.
With a splash of country and a whole lot of punk, the Waco Brothers created a unique hybrid of American and British influences that is best washed down with your favorite fifth. In addition, all of the tracks on Waco World, with Go to the top the exception of the opening Pigsville, only improve with age. It’s a sure sign that this album contains a batch of well-written songs that are sure to remain in your CD player for years to come.

From Amplifier online:

The left-leaning lord of Leeds, Jon Langford, must have access to more hours in a day than the rest of us. In the last year or so, he’s been responsible for an album called Skull Orchard; a Bob Wills tribute record on which Langford’s Pine Valley Cosmonauts back a revolving door of guest vocalists (including Robbie Fulks, Alejandro Escovedo, and Neko Case); the latest effort from the musical sideshow that is the Mekons, a group Langford has been leading for 20 years; and a self-described “wee LP” from his punky-tonk outfit the Waco Brothers. Now here’s 1999 only a month and a half old, and there’s already a new Waco Brothers full-length on the shelves.
Wacoworld comes out of the gate strong with two gems: the taunting, soaring “Pigsville” and “Hello to Everybody,” on which insurgent country meets Muscle Shoals as steel guitar and soulful organ slow dance on the sawdust floor. The cowpoppy “Day of the Dead” and the late-album “Northwoods, which sounds like it could be one of Jason and the Scorchers’ mid-tempo tunes, also make immediate impressions. But then again things are never less than Go to the top entertaining, thanks to a righteous blend of spirit of ‘77 energy and country instrumentation (plenty of fiddle to keep the pedal steel company) that makes descriptors like “Johnny Clash” more than just clever wordplay.

– Rick Cornell

From: Miles for Music

Rated: 1 Poor cow running, screaming, trying to get away from this disc.
If this was an instrumental disc, it would probably still suck. Though maybe not quite as bad. I don’t think it would be possible for it to suck any worse. This disc was my first, and last, exposure to the Waco Brothers. Bloodshot is pretty proud of them. The Alt-Country community has embraced them as well. But I don’t care if Jesus himself rides down on his golden chariot with this thing blasting out of the Holy 8-Track, this disc still sucks.
The Waco Brothers are a band that hails out of Chicago. There’s decent music up there. Steve Goodman and John Prine lived in Chicago. Special Consensus is a damn good bluegrass band from Chicago. Robbie Fulks lives there. Lets not forget Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Buddy Guy, and all the good blues that come from that area. Even Chicago, Styx and Cheap Trick can claim Chicago as a hometown. There’s a hell of an alt-country/twang scene there. One that is rivaled only by Austin’s. What I don’t understand is why a band that I have only heard praise about, and who’s newest Cd I was looking forward to hearing, could suck so bad.
How does it suck? Let me count the ways. First and foremost, the vocals suck. I’m not sure which of the Waco’s is the predominate lead singer, it sounded like there were several, but it sucked. They all sucked. Offkey grunting warbling that sounded like drunk pigs screwing. Second, a cowboy hat don’t make a country band, and Americana or Alt-Country shouldn’t be a dumping ground for rock that sucks too bad to get played anywhere else. Third, I can handle bad singing if the songs don’t suck as well. Singer Songwriters are not known for having great singing voices. But if your songs AND your singing sucks, then you need to take one of those Sally Struthers home correspondence courses and learn TV/VCR repair, locksmithing, or how to be a music critic.
I have been told by friends that the Waco Brothers are a great band. Both live and on disc. I was told that they are a hard drinking bunch who put on a great live show. I was told that their show was one of the highlights of the SXSW music festival and corporate sponser group masterbation ceremony. I was also told that once I got married, I’d get laid twice a day too.
Go to the top Basically, here’s the deal. You can spend $10-15 bucks on this disc, or you can spend it on Tupperware. The Tupperware is a better use of plastic and is something you might actually use, Of course, I wonder if this disc is Microwave safe?. No dancing cows for the Waco Brothers.
Jeff Wall

© 1999 - John Sekerka

Jon Langford continues his fascination of bending country music as the Waco Brothers lay down another grand bunch of twisted tunes. This one’s a little heavier, leaning more to the rocky side of the boat, but the fiddles and mandolins and steel guitars are still very much in evidence. When there is call for twang, the Waco Brothers deliver in spades, though there’s no hiding a good pop song under any guise, or a British accent for that matter. After years with The Mekons and various side projects, Langford continues to hone his writing craft, making memorable music along the way. This ain’t no exception, and hell, there’s even a train song. You betcha!

From Austin Chronicle 15-3-99:

At the end of Westworld, Michael Crichton’s 1973 film about a futuristic cowboy theme park in which robot gunslinger Yul Brynner short circuits and starts plugging real people with real bullets, there’s only relentless pursuit. Brynner just keeps coming. With four albums in four years, Chicago’s Waco Brothers appear to be as indefatigable, and if their latest effort Wacoworld isn’t as murderously good as either of the group’s first two Clash-meets-Cash albums, it’s not lying face down in the street, either. Having lost some of that crisp English edge to their songs — and maybe even a little firepower — the Wacos, led by the notorious Oliver Reed doppelganger Jonboy Langford, have nevertheless gotten the action on their .45s so fine and smooth that every hail of bullets naturally has its share of bullseyes. Langford’s rude opener, “Pigsville,” bullseye. The last verse of “Red Brick Wall” (”on the day of his death, I built JFK a shrine. I know just how he felt — I get murdered in Texas everytime”), in the shoulder. The swagger of “The Hand That Throws That Bottle Down,” straight between the eyes. Gang leader Langford still has the truest aim, “Day of the Dead” a hit, but sidekick Deano gets his shots in, particularly on Wacoworld’s best cut, the mournfully atmospheric “Broken Down Row.” A few tunes end up lodged harmlessly in the bar, but hit or miss, the Waco Brothers just keep coming.
3 stars –Raoul Hernandez

Wagington Post, Friday, May 28, 1999

By Mark Jenkins
Probably because the majority of them are Americans, the Waco Brothers take a more earnest approach to country and roots music than their British cousins, the Mekons. Still, the bands share two key members, singer-guitarist John Langford and drummer Steve Goulding. The two are identified on the sextet’s “Waco World” only as “Jonboy” and “Leopard Boy Goulding,” but there’s no mistaking the latter’s robust thump or the former’s liquor-drenched tales of rebellion and despair.
“There’s nothing you’ve done to feel ashamed of,” announces the opening “Pigsville,” which bears Langford’s characteristic touch. So do such songs as “Fire Down Below” and “The Hand that Throws the Bottle Down,” which can be identified by the singer’s Welsh accent (listen for the r’s) and his class-consciousness: “There goes the winner but the race was rigged/ Feel like a loser? Well, the fight was fixed.” As usual, the songs of the Wacos’s other frontman, Dean Schlabowske are less compelling. Forays into blues and Western swing aren’t enough to keep “Waco World” interesting when Langford’s distinctive songs yield to Schlabowske’s merely competent ones.

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 1999, Volume 6, #3

Written by John Metzger

Transplanted Brit Jon Langford stands at the heart of the insurgent country revolution. Fresh from leading the Pine Valley Cosmonauts through a rousing tribute to western swing great Bob Wills, Langford is determined to remain firmly entrenched in the spotlight. Last year, he reunited the Waco Brothers to record Waco World, the band’s fourth album for Chicago’s Bloodshot Records and their first release since 1997.
These days, Langford and his band, which features guitarist Dean Schlabowske, steel and 12-string guitarist Mark Durante, mandolinist Tracey Dear, drummer Steve Goulding, and bassist Alan Doughty, have a better grasp of country music than Nashville does. However, they steer clear of blindly reproducing the classic country sound. Instead, Waco World continues Langford’s determination to put the final nail in the coffin of the alternative country movement by tightly wrapping the country sound in a thick cloak of pure punk angst. The result is a finely tuned, thirteen-song album that makes the connection between Hank Williams and The Clash.
Waco World is brimming with songs for the working man. Their lyrics are dark, desolate, and thoroughly drenched in a variety of fermented grains; their music is caught somewhere between a drunken brawl and the morning after.
Hello to Everybody cops a country-rock ballad straight from the Rolling Stones, but the Waco Brothers do it better than the Stones have in years. Durante’s steel guitar slips and slides underneath the melody, packing volumes of emotion in his understated presence. On Red Brick Wall, the Waco Brothers update Little Willie John’s Leave My Kitten Alone, creating a supercharged, adrenaline-pumping number that features honky-tonk piano and Poi Dog Pondering’s horn section. As the song concludes, Goulding kick-starts The Hand that Throws the Bottle Down, sending the group careening in a totally different direction. A powerful bass line laces the song with an animated undercurrent that guides the tune through its shimmering groove.
With a splash of country and a whole lot of punk, the Waco Brothers created a unique hybrid of American and British influences that is best washed down with your favorite fifth. In addition, all of the tracks on Waco World, with the exception of the opening Pigsville, only improve with age. It’s a sure sign that this album contains a batch of well-written songs that are sure to remain in your CD player for years to come.
The more you listen to Jon Langford- or see him live, where he’ll spout wisecracks for hours- the more impressive his verbal facility seems. But Deano is an equal partner in this particular metaphor system, which defines country music as the great lost conduit of white male working-class desperation. Langford tends toward the grimly matter-of-fact: “That’s why they’re called bars, ‘cos they keep me inside.” “But I’ll paint myself back out/Of this corner everytime.” Deano is more visionary, as in “Pigsville,” where you wake up next to your own chalk outline, or “Hello to Everybody,” where aliens abduct you to “a warmer planet/Where there is no consequence.” Both sing so lustily that the band’s indifference to the niceties of country as it exists in history is of no consequence. When the milder-voiced mandolinist Mr. Tracey Dear takes the mike, however, the illusion pales.
A Minus
By Robert Christgau: Village Voice, May 26 - June 1, 1999 Consumer Guide

From: http://www.pauserecord.com/events/newbandspotlight/Waco_Brothers.html

Transplanted Brit Jon Langford stands at the heart of the insurgent country revolution. Fresh from leading the Pine Valley Cosmonauts through a rousing tribute to western swing great Bob Wills, Langford is determined to remain firmly entrenched in the spotlight. Last year, he reunited the Waco Brothers to record Waco World, the band’s fourth album for Chicago’s Bloodshot Records and their first release since 1997.
These days, Langford and his band, which features guitarist Dean Schlabowske, steel and 12-string guitarist Mark Durante, mandolinist Tracey Dear, drummer Steve Goulding, and bassist Alan Doughty, have a better grasp of country music than Nashville does. However, they steer clear of blindly reproducing the classic country sound. Instead, Waco World continues Langford’s determination to put the final nail in the coffin of the alternative country movement by tightly wrapping the country sound in a thick cloak of pure punk angst. The result is a finely tuned, thirteen-song album that makes the connection between Hank Williams and The Clash.
Waco World is brimming with songs for the working man. Their lyrics are dark, desolate, and thoroughly drenched in a variety of fermented grains; their music is caught somewhere between a drunken brawl and the morning after.
Hello to Everybody cops a country-rock ballad straight from the Rolling Stones, but the Waco Brothers do it better than the Stones have in years. Durante’s steel guitar slips and slides underneath the melody, packing volumes of emotion in his understated presence.
On Red Brick Wall, the Waco Brothers update Little Willie John’s Leave My Kitten Alone, creating a supercharged, adrenaline-pumping number that features honky-tonk piano and Poi Dog Pondering’s horn section. As the song concludes, Goulding kick-starts The Hand that Throws the Bottle Down, sending the group careening in a totally different direction. A powerful bass line laces the song with an animated undercurrent that guides the tune through its shimmering groove.
With a splash of country and a whole lot of punk, the Waco Brothers created a unique hybrid of American and British influences that is best washed down with your favorite fifth. In addition, all of the tracks on Waco World, with the exception of the opening Pigsville, only improve with age. It’s a sure sign that this album contains a batch of well-written songs that are sure to remain in your CD player for years to come.
John Metzger

From: Naples Daily News:

British artists have long looked across the Atlantic for musical inspiration. Eric Clapton appropriated southern blues; the Clash took Jamaican reggae; Billy Bragg stole American folk. Add the Waco Brothers to that illustrious list.
Four of the six Wacos are British, and the band’s members feature fairly accomplished music resumes (Mekons, Poi Dog Pondering, KMFDM, Jesus Jones), but their sound is unabashedly American. It’s a mix of Nashville and the Chicago alt-country sound that’s been percolating for the last few years. Singer Jon Langford sings his left-leaning lyrics with passion and a late-’70s punk energy, while the band moves easily through the styles of Americana.
“Fire Down Below” has a Texas-style push behind it, while songs like the opening “Pigsville” could be an outtake from the Clash’s “London Calling.” Genres from rockabilly to classic country ballads are all represented, but the thing that holds them all together is one surprising fact: underneath those British accents lie truly American souls. The Wacos get this music at a deep level, which makes their fine new album an exciting mixture of American styles and British punk energy.
From splendidezine

If you’ve paid only scant attention to the Waco Brothers and the rest of the Bloodshot Records stable, you might be a little unclear on the whole “insurgent country” concept. Hell, if you’re an old punk rocker, “country” is a dirty word, right? But, as WacoWorld handily re-establishes, the Waco Bros. aren’t Big Business Country — theirs is the Country of Hank Williams, of grim reality, of longing and loss and of Solving Problems With Liquor. Yes, you’ll hear twangy steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin and the other trappings of more traditional country music, but songs like the lovelorn failure ditty “Red Brick Wall” and the squalor-wallowing “Broken Down Row” are unsanitized slices of life that connect with the real world. “Good For Me” owes more of its musical heritage to the blues (via the Rolling Stones) than anything that’s come out of Nashville — but by virtue of the defiant desperation of its mood and the vaguely southwestern bias of its lyrics, it’s country, dammit! You can’t line dance to the Waco Brothers, thank God — the appropriate listening posture is leaning against a bar, holding a drink and a cigarette in one hand and giving the Man the finger with the other. It’s attitude, and it’s good. Why waste your money on another Pearl Jam clone when you can spend the day at WacoWorld?
Review by George Zahora

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