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Album Review

With an album title like The Disco Outlaw, some fans might wonder if Jack Yarber (aka Jack-O) has forsaken dirty-ass R&B in favor of a polished set of four-on-the-floor boogie, but don't fret — Yarber and his Tennessee Tearjerkers are still rocking hard, and if there's a faint funky undertow to one or two numbers on their third full-length effort, these guys are still swearing fierce allegiance to the twin icons of blues and punk rock. With John Paul Keith on lead guitar and Harlan T. Bobo on bass, this is Yarber's tightest set of Tearjerkers to date, and if there's less slop in the performances, the keen focus of the arrangements packs an impressive wallop, and the classic soul gestures on "Make Your Mind Up" and "Sweet Thang" sound less like an affectation and more like the real thing. Yarber and company can still rock strong and dirty, as "Stop Stalling," "Let Me Go," and "Against the Wall" demonstrate with style, and the accordion-powered "Crook for Your Look" suggests they've been listening to some classic swamp pop. The cover of Travis Wammack's "Scratchy" is both faithful and frantic, and "Switchblade Comb" and "Blood Bank Blues" confirm that no one on board has lost touch with the blues roots that lurk at the heart of the best Memphis music, no matter how much they bend the template to their will. Bold and fiery, The Disco Outlaw is the Tennessee Tearjerkers' best effort to date, and a fine example of what Yarber does so well.

The Disco Outlaw, Jack-O and the Tennessee Tearjerkers
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