Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grifter - S/T

If Grifter didn’t exist I would have had to make them up. Three hairy, over the hill guys from Plymouth, England playing no frills heavy rock and living in a 1974 time warp will always be something I will encourage. Since 2003, Grifter has been kicking ass and putting out EP’s but now it’s full length album time and it’s on Ripple’s home grown label. How cool is that? Pretty fuckin cool if you ask me since Grifter rock hard and the Ripple guys are experts at recognizing the real deal. A match made in rehab, for sure.

If you’re into Humble Pie, Cactus and Foghat then you’ll like Grifter. There are probably some “modern” influences like Clutch and Fu Manchu in there, but they are overpowered by the original boogie. “Good Day For Bad News” is a powerhouse opening jam complete with a nice Johnny Winter-ish slide guitar solo. It’s followed up by “Alabama Hotpocket,” which is easily the best song title of the year if not the century. (Look it up, have a bucket nearby to hurl into). The chorus on this one is so catchy that it should be sung at sporting events.

If “Alabama Hotpocket” offends you, then chances are that songs like “Asshole Parade,” “Piss and Gas” and “Strip Club” will really get you upset. Sure, potty mouth lyrics and four letter words show a limited vocabulary but that’s society’s problem, not mine. When the riffs are this tough you can’t sing about lame crap like feelings or, even worse, politics. Some of the toughest riffs are on “Young Blood, Old Veins,” a total Black Sabbath stomper that wouldn’t sound out of place on the underrated Sabotage album. “Bucktooth Woman” and “Preacher And The Devil” were probably written after being bombarded with Blackfoot tapes in the van when they toured with Sun Gods In Exile. And I think I detect some Zep on “Bean” and “Unwelcome Guest.” The album wraps up with the nice acoustic “Gone Blues.”

Production on the album is top notch and all of the songs would sound great on the radio if the classic rock stations would take a break from brainwashing us with yet another Elton John weeper. Ollie’s guitar sound is killer, pure Charvel plugged into a solid state Peavey combo amp (just kidding!). Ollie’s a Les Paul/Marshall/Guinness kind of a player and the rhythm section of Foz (drums) and Phil (bass) are very tight and in the pocket at all times. Ollie’s vocals remind me at times of both Peter Frampton and Greg Ridley from their Humble Pie days. Hopefully next summer Grifter will get to headline Plymouth Jam II with Federale and Stone Axe at the Argyle Football Club stadium.

--Woody

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