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Earth vs. Shockabilly

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Album Review

In the first full-length flowering of the Shockabilly disease, the completely unique power trio infuses Earth with what would become the kind of ammunition the group would regularly fire at an uncaring world of listeners: guitarist Eugene Chadbourne's sociopolitical barbs written on a sliding scale of minor chords and solos, bassist Kramer's rumbling discourse with drummer David Licht. Originals like "City of Corruption," "Party House, Pt. 3 in 3-D, and "Big Money Broad" mix with a bizarre grab-bag of covers ranging from "Purple Haze" and "Day Tripper" to Johnny Cash's "Tennessee Flat Top Box." Though the free-flowing madness that made later records like Heaven masterpieces of a form that no one has mastered since isn't quite boiling at a high-pitch rate, Earth Vs. Shockabilly is still a formidable debut chock-full of a kind of rock music bottom feeding that is compulsively magnificent. The sometimes available Ghost of Shockabilly CD contains both Earth and the band's next album, Colosseum, and is well worth seeking out.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Formed in 1982 by guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, bass player Mark Kramer and drummer David Licht, Shockabilly produced music that sounded like an unholy combination of the Electric Prunes and Karlheinz Stockhausen. They specialized in outrageous cover versions - ‘Psychotic Reaction’, ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘Purple Haze’ - and also more obscure items by John Lee Hooker, John Fogerty and Syd Barrett. When the song seems to be familiar, it gives the listener a thread on which to hang...
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Earth vs. Shockabilly, Shockabilly
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