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Older Articles

Big John Bates: Take Your Medicine

Genre: Rockabilly
Label: Devil Sauce Recordings

Every once in a while an artist comes along that shakes the pillars of the music genre, of which they are a part, right to the foundations. Big John Bates is not such an artist. As I was listening to his music I was impressed by the tightness of the band, but I was distracted by something else. Although I have read somewhere that this is a cross between punk and rockabilly, I cannot concur. I like punk and I like rockabilly. Big John Bates fits in perfectly with the latter. Maybe a little too perfectly.

I found myself thinking over and over that I was listening to a Brian Setzer/Chris Isaac collaboration album ... without the maturity of Setzer or the gripping melancholy of Isaac. In most cases this would be a complement. And if that is all the band is trying to achieve then well done.

Still, I clicked through the tracks thinking that I had heard all this before. Thinking that I would enjoy spending a night at the Hard Rock Cafe, drinking with friends, and hanging with the burlesque girls of the Voodoo Dollz that are a part of the Big John Bates project... a brilliant partnership I must admit. But I don't believe I would stand in line too long to go home with an autographed CD to add to my collection. I already have enough of this sound to go home to.

I will give credit where due. It is apparent that the musicians that make up the band, and Big John himself , are professionals at their art. I would have liked to have heard Big John, like the “bad ass” he is described as being, break out in a few more bad ass guitar breaks, and show us what he can do. Perhaps then I could have gotten a bit more excited about this latest work from this highly acclaimed Canadian performer.

I listened to the Take Your Medicine collection once again hoping to find more than I had. I even found myself enjoying it, as I bopped to the steady beat of the stand up bass of sCare-oline and the haunting glissade that Big John made across the frets of his Gretsch in many of the riffs he played, but alas, the results were the same.

Big John is not the pop culture icon that some profess him to be. Perhaps this is just part of the evolution. In my own way I am pulling for him. I would like to see him take the next step in becoming a contributor to the progression of psychobilly, because it is a genre that I also enjoy. But, from my impression, he is a long way off. Maybe Big John likes his music the way it is. Well then my hat's off to him for being true to the core values of the rockabilly sound that he embraces.

All in all, if you are a big fan of rockabilly, and just cannot get enough, then Take Your Medicine is for you. Otherwise, save your money and spend it on a live show, if and when, you are in an area Big John Bates is performing.

Added: February 19th 2007
Reviewer: Zane Riddick
Related Link: Visit Big John Bates Online
Hits: 2185
Language: english


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