Sunday, October 18, 2009

Alligator Stew - Welcome to Monticello.Live 2003

Alligator Stew - Welcome to Monticello.Live 2003
Label: Hogleg Records.


Alligator Stew is a five man southern rock outfit that puts out kickassed fun boogie rock and roll with blues influence. This CD is a mixed bag of live and studio tracks. Suprisingly the live tracks are better than the studio tracks at the end of the CD. I think it's because of the energy that comes across on the CD. Eleven of the fifteen tracks are live, and only a few were on their previous studio CD. Gary Jeffries has an excellent voice for this style of music. His voice has enough grit that it matches the instrumental portions perfectly.

The Live songs:
'Louisiana Man' opens the CD. It's a swampy uptempo song. It reminds me of a faster Polk Salid Annie. 'Shiner' slows down a bit but with a similar style as 'Louisiana Man'. 'I Know You Too Well' gets into straight ahead rock territory. Think of a countryfied version of Cheap Trick. 'Rose Thorn Bed' could be classed as a southern anthem. Lots of slide guitar on this one. 'Doesn't Reallly Matter' leans a bit towards country territory. A funky beat with some lap steel guitar and harmonica dominate on this song. Think of some of the current crop of "country" stars and what they are doing and you might get a feel for this song. It's more rock and roll than country. 'Blood Money' is one of my favorites on this CD. I guess you could describe it as a slow minor anthem. It's pretty much a rant against the legal system. 'Two Wheels', from their first CD, is obviously a biker themed song. Again it's a boogie tune mixing lap steel guitar in traditional southern rock format to great effect.

A couple of cover songs are included. 'Green River/Susie Q' is always a crowd favorite. Do we need another version of these they certainly do a great job on them. The production on Alligator Stew's version is better than the original from Creedance Clearwater. Creedance's sound never got away from sounding like it was recorded in a garage while Alligator Stews version is loud and full. The other cover is Bob Segar's 'Turn The Page'. This one is fairly faithful to the original except for some country style lap steel licks which add to the song.

The Studio songs:
'The Heist' tries to tell a song about a robbery, but sort of misses the mark. It's a slow almost country sounding song. 'Missin My Friends' is a studio version of the live track included on this CD. It's a little fuller musically than the live version but the live version has a really nice basic sound to it thats really good. 'Far Beneath The Rubble' leans into folk territory, with acoustic picked guitar. This is a really basic song, just a slow vocal and single finger picked acoustic guitar. It's actually the best of the studio songs in my opinion. It's easy to sound good with distorted guitars and a full band, but a single voice and acoustic guitar requires talent to sound good and this song is good.

Bottom Line: Fun southern blues rock and roll. These guys have to be crowd pleasers wherever they perform. I've loaned this CD to several people I know, who normally listen to a wide range of music, and reviews from all of them are either "great" or better. This is another keeper from the Alligator Stew boys. If you like boogie rock and roll, Lynyrd Skynyrd or still hanker for southern kickassed rock, check this CD out. Visit their web site and sample some of the other tracks they have available. I give it four out of five stars cause live CD's are much harder to do well than in the studio.
By Robert T. Murphy.
Gary Jeffries- Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica
John Andrews- Guitar and Mandolin
Doug Richardson- Bass and Background Vocals
TC Markle- Drums and Percussion
Chris Turbis- Piano, Hammond B3 and Background Vocals.
01. Louisiana Man (6:51)
02. Shiner (6:14)
03. I Know You Too Well (3:10)
04. Rose Thorn Be (3:29)
05. Missin' My Friends (Monti Version) (4:03)
06. Doesn't Really Matter (3:23)
07. Blood Money (3:53)
08. Green River/Susie Q (7:06)
09. Turn The Page (6:55)
10. Two Wheels (4:48)
11. You Gotta Give (3:55)
12. Four Winds (4:01)
13. The Heist (5:16)
14. Missin' My Friends (LA Version) (3:52)
15. Far Beneath the Rubble (3:49)
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