It’s hard not to like yourself some Eddie Spaghetti. His perma-grin and rampant hunger for a good time are the stuff debauched late nights and horrible mornings are made of. The Supersuckers frontman has come a long way from the days where he’d be jailed preemptively by police before his birthday, but he still manages to raise more than his fair share of hell. Formidable debauchery is much more admirable when paired with an ass-kicking band, and while they may not be “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band In The World” as they so charmingly purport, The Supersuckers are a rare band can claim to have toured with Thin Lizzy and Motorhead, backed Willie Nelson on The Tonight Show and been name-checked by The Murder City Devils. The Supersuckers still bring it mightily at their old age, but their country side has increasingly risen to the fore. Most shows feature separate Country and Rock sets, both of which are known for fostering a pronounced degree of ass-shaking.
Even the best frontman needs some alone time once in a while, and so we have Sundowner. Coming courtesy of your friends at Bloodshot, Sundowner is heavy on the cover end of things, but peppered with enough decent originals to keep things honest. The album get under way with “Never Thought I Would”, the kind of Bottle Rockets meets Webb Pierce track that sounds exactly like what you’d expect a solo Spaghetti track to sound like. Over the following 11 tracks, Eddie “puts a little spaghetti” on a gang of tracks by artists and/or bands that Spaghetti holds particular affection for. As you might surmise, Steve Earle and Willie Nelson tracks make appearances. The Earle chestnut “If You Fall In Love” comes off nicely, with Spaghetti sounding a lot like Scott Miller, while the take on Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” is a little more of a slippery slope. The cover is by no means bad, but seems best consigned to live shows. not because it’s sub-par, but because there is no way Spaghetti is going to improve on the original.
As you might expect, Sundowner has the obligatory Johnny Cash selection. Spaghetti gets points for not making a totally obvious choice in “What Do I Care”, but with all respect to Mr. Cash and his family, I think we need to hold up on the Cash covers for a bit. The best moments on Sundowner come when Spaghetti takes it a little outside. Take the romp through the Dean Martin classic “Party Dolls and Wine”. Revisited as Rev. Horton Heat meets Brian Setzer up-tempo romp, it is a perfect counterpart to the Del Reeves cover (“Girl On The Billboard”) that follows it. Eddie has a good ear, and fans can rest assured that all genres of outsider country this side of Johnny Rebel David Allan Coe material are touched upon. Those whose tastes lean more towards the Supersuckers should fear not, as our hero does toss his personal pasta on tracks from The Dwarves and former “Sucker Rick Sims” Texas band of motherfuckers that goes by the “even-quainter-in-their-home-state” name of The Lee Harvey Oswald Band.
Good times should be had by most tuning in for Sundowner. Spaghetti has taken pains to keep an air of Supersucker-dom about the proceedings, recording the tracks here with current Supersuckers personnel Metal Marty Chandler and drummer/percussionist Scott(zilla) Churilla. An ominous harbinger for law-enforcement personnel is the appearance of Quattro, Spaghetti’s son, on the self-penned closing track. “Entitled When Do I Go” is a good one, with a curiously ELO vibe that begs the question as to what the hell is going on with the Chez Spaghetti hi-fi. Where the Spaghetti family apples fall in relation to the family tree remains to be seen, but fans of the Supersuckers and practitioners of the Eddie Spaghetti lifestyle will find Sundowner to be a pleasantly palatable offering.
// Notes from the Road
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