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Great Chicago Fire

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Great Chicago Fire is a let-your-hair-down album of classic bar-band rock 'n' roll and country-western grooves, with a touch of Exile on Main St. in its looseness. In his usual role, Paul Burch is a carefully measured songwriter who excels at nailing down details with precision. Here, with The Mekons' Jon Langford spurring him on, he's another fine saloon singer playing in service to the celebration. It's a bit like an Irish wake, with rhythms swaying and the feel flowing toward the sentimental and the well-worn. Hints of Stones-like guitar drive "Monterey" and "Wrong Side of Love," while "Transfusion Blues" and "Cannonball" shuffle like Bob Dylan's electric band from Highway 61 Revisited. The cover of Dylan's "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" turns the old folk tune into a blistering stomper with striking guitar leads. The chemistry between the band and Burch is legitimate, and the title track's casual power makes a case for letting old pros follow their instincts. 


Formed: 1994 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

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

Often described as "Half Cash, half Clash" for their fiery mixture of classic country spirit ("Cash" meaning the Man in Black) and old-school punk energy and defiance, the Waco Brothers were the most successful of the many side projects launched by Jon Langford, one of the founding members of eclectic British punk-and-beyond troublemakers the Mekons. In the '80s, the Mekons began exploring the influences of American country music, which they had discovered while touring the United States, and the...
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Great Chicago Fire, The Waco Brothers
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