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Backyard Bbq Broadcast (25th Anniversary Edition)

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Album Review

Having hooked up with Imago for Glum, and then just as quickly leaving the major-label world — it didn't help any that Imago itself went bust a little while later — Giant Sand kept things simple for its follow-up release. Taking its name from the fact that, indeed, part of it was recorded at a benefit show for New Jersey's WFMU held in a backyard with a barbecue, Backyard Barbecue Broadcast also contains numbers from another session done at the station the following year. With the trio accompanied by extra guitarists at each session (Bill Elm and, on the latter session only, Mike Semple), Giant Sand make their way through a series of interesting cuts, most of which hadn't been formally released by the band (and still haven't, for that matter). Notably, two songs crop up here which Bill Elm, John Convertino, and Joey Burns later redid with Howe Gelb's help under their Friends of Dean Martinez guise. Both are covers — Charles Trénet's classic boulevardier song "I Wish You Love" and Santo & Johnny's "Seashells." Otherwise, Gelb compositions are featured, with the songs performed at the actual BBQ itself mastered on the CD as one overall track. Whether intentionally or not, the brief bits between the songs are filled in with lower-fidelity bits from the band — odd, but it doesn't really distract. Gelb's vocals sound more than a little thrashed on the BBQ cuts, but he still keeps things going pretty well, while the band performances themselves call to mind the Purge & Slouch sessions, though with a little more overall focus. The songs from the other session make for good listening as well, the piano-led "Lean" in particular being a winner, balancing off a slow pace with looming feedback twang that bursts forth fully every so often. A semi-unlisted track from a 1993 New York station broadcast, "Rolling Stones I Am," ends the disc with a bit of straight blues-rock and another singer, one Ms. Hot Dog. ["Yer Ropes" and the aforementioned "Rolling Stones I Am" are listed as bonus tracks on the 2011 reissue on Fire.]


Formed: 1982 in Tuscon, AZ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Giant Sand was the primary outlet for the stylistic curveballs and sun-damaged songcraft of Howe Gelb, a Pennsylvania-born singer/guitarist who formed the four-piece Giant Sandworms after relocating to Tuscon, Arizona in the mid-'70s. After releasing the EP Will Wallow and Roam After the Ruin in 1980, Gelb fired everyone but bassist Scott Gerber (although founding guitarist Rainer Ptacek returned to the fold many times in the future) and started over as simply Giant Sand, essentially a one-man band...
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Backyard Bbq Broadcast (25th Anniversary Edition), Giant Sand
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