Alabama 3: Exile On Coldharbour Lane (Elemental ELM 40CD)

COLDHARBOUR LANE is one of Brixton’s infamous thoroughfares, where the great unwashed jostle alongside the black British community.

Alabama 3 (they number eight) sell out thousand-capacity local venues by way of tapping the area’s all-human-life-is-here buzz: the band calls itself “acid country” but that doesn’t account for the preacher rap, reggae pulse, gospel backing, trashed humour (though being there would help appreciation of ‘The Night We Nearly Got Busted’ or ‘Hypo Full Of Love’) and, bizarrely enough, MOR pop lilt that feeds their muse.

Imagine C.W. McCall’s 1976 truckers anthem ‘Convoy’ played by Swampy and chums, but there’s an undertow of the pain as well as the joy of drug culture. Extra bonus points for taking potshots at their own kind, as on single ‘Ain’t Going To Goa’ (“There ain’t nothing worse than some fool lying on some third world beach in spandex psychedelic trousers smoking damned dope, pretending he’s getting consciousness expansion”) ***

© Martin AstonQ, November 1997

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