Waco Brothers & Paul Burch
Great Chicago Fire
Any record that opens with Johnny Rotten's final words from the last Sex Pistols show -- the sneering fuck you "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated... ?" -- is worthy of a listen, and Great Chicago Fire doesn't disappoint. Once known only as The Mekon's offshoot country band, the Waco Brothers have forged a reputation as defenders of real country, namely the kind you don't see on TV. This release finds them paired with Nashville artist Paul Burch, no slouch in the "right" country circles (check out his East to West album from 2006 or his work with Wpa Ballclub for a taste), and together they've laid down 11 tracks that straddle the border between country and rock, sacrificing neither.
"Give In" reminds you of the great days of "alt country" à la the Old '97s, and the Stone-ish "Wrong Side of Love" sounds like Burch channeling Gram Parsons in the Flying Burrito Brothers. By the time the record ends with a rousing take on Dylan's "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" with Burch and head Waco Jon Langford trading verses, you know the warning à la Rotten is for naught. You won't be cheated with Great Chicago Fire unless you like your country served up by some sober conservative on CMT. Ick.