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Everlast

Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford

(Martyr Inc; US: 23 Sep 2008; UK: 29 Sep 2008)

It may seem like a long shot. But with the economy in shambles, the presidential election hinging on metaphors about lipstick and pigs, and people angrier than they have been in decades, maybe what the world needs now is more Whitey Ford. Everlast, also known as Erik Schrody, is counting on it. For the first time since his 1998 album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, Schrody has recorded as his alter ego Whitey Ford again. Largely leaving behind the acoustic guitar accompaniment, Everlast hits hard with Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford.


In this case, Whitey Ford seems to be taking dead aim at politics in America.  In “Kill the Emperor”, he makes repeated references to the price of oil, Hurricane Katrina and the new Crusade. The message is more Immortal Technique and less House of Pain. Not that Schrody has ever been just a radio rapper.  His merging of acoustic and electric guitar with rap was ahead of its time. “Weakness” sounds like we’re catching up with the cast of characters off Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, and the story has only gotten sadder.


The cover of “ Folsom Prison Blues” shows either a lighter side of Everlast or a lack of self-awareness, as the sample noise repeated throughout the track is clearly the same as in his biggest hit, House of Pain’s ”Jump Around”.  “Stone in My Hand” is the best of what Schrody does. It works as a threat or a metaphor for the centralization of power. He has clearly had enough of the passive political society that America has become and is making a demand that we each do something with the stone that’s in our hands. The same can be said for the first single from the record, “Letters from the Garden of Stone”, a letter written as a last testament of a soldier. It has an authenticity to it that few in the genre can get away with. When Shrody sings about life at war, it is easily to believe that he has been there.


“Let It Go” is a turn for the softer. While Everlast has the vocal chops to deliver it, it seems out of place on the album. The love songs on Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford come less naturally than the war songs. Everlast is, after all, a fighter.  Not too many artists would dive into a solo career after a near-fatal heart attack. Still, at 16 tracks, the record can afford to have a few clunkers and still make its point.


Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Fordis a welcome return to form for Everlast after the disappointing sales of his last record. While the intensity does not live up to the pace set by the opening track “Kill the Emperor”, Schrody delivers an album of relevant songs overall. It is unlikely to find him a new audience, but it should make the current one happy.

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