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Native Son

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Album Review

The debut by folk-influenced college rockers the JudyBats, 1991's Native Son, is an extremely uneven record. The high points are quite high indeed, but there's an awful lot of filler too. Conveniently, however, the good stuff and the not-so-good is segregated from one another, with the six best songs appearing at the front of the album and the B-squad material relegated to the second half. The peaks include the soaring title track and the sunny "Daylight," both songs powered by Johnny Sughrue's driving acoustic guitar, the group's secret weapon through most of their albums. The other pair of gems are the atypical "Don't Drop the Baby," an almost psychedelic slice of college radio-style spookiness, and a terrific cover of Roky Erickson's "She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)" that had first appeared on Sire's terrific Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye tribute. The JudyBats, save for bassist Timothy Stutz, had never even heard of Erickson when their label demanded they record this track, but keyboardist/violinist Peggy Hambright turns in her best performance on the album. After that high point and the fine "Incognito," the album drifts off into catatonia with a stretch of vague and basically uninteresting folk-influenced pop songs, but the first 21 minutes of this album make up for missteps like the pretentious "The Wanted Man." Native Son is a flawed but basically worthwhile release, but its follow-up, 1992's Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow, would build on its strengths.

Customer Reviews

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Of all the forgotten or little known bands, this one of the best. Convalescing in Spain and Native Son are worth a gander.


Daylight might be one of the best pop tunes ever written. Really!

Unique and different :)

This band definitely has it's own sound. The song writing is top notch and once you "get" them, you will enjoy their sense of humor that is added to most of the songs.


Formed: 1986

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Although Knoxville, TN's JudyBats managed a few minor college radio hits, their brand of genial, folk-inflected college rock was rendered passé around the time Nevermind came out, which limited their commercial success considerably. This was a shame, because although their albums were extremely uneven, the group's best tracks were something special. The JudyBats formed in Knoxville in 1988, initially consisting of University of Tennessee students Jeff Heiskell on vocals, Johnny Sughrue on acoustic...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by The JudyBats

Native Son, The JudyBats
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Adult Alternative
  • Released: Aug 1990

Customer Ratings

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