Thanks to Bill Hanke, I’ve been privileged to witness several live performances by a Canadian band who – along with Los Straitjackets – have brought blazing guitar instrumentals into the 21st century. Among musicians-in-the-know, word has gotten out about this musical conflagration, as evidenced by their collaborations with Neko Case, Garth Hudson (of The Band), X’s John Doe, Jon Langford (of The Mekons), Jon Spencer, and Blue Rodeo, et al. If it weren’t for Bill, in fact, I might have missed this Thursday’s show at DC’s Hill Country BBQ. Each appearance on this side of the national divide is a cause for celebration – don’t miss out!
I still haven’t mentioned the name of the group yet, have I? In 1998, this (unnamed) band would collaborate with, of all people, oddball rhythm and blues vocalist, Andre Williams, whose first recordings would date to the mid-1950s and enjoy such colorful (and culinary-themed) titles as “The Greasy Chicken,” “Bacon Fat” (his lone 45 on Columbia imprint, Epic), “Pig Snoots,” and “Rib Tips.” Pretty cheeky move for an up-and-coming band on its sophomore release, whose kick-off track would be among the most memorable truck-driving tunes yet written. The suspense is killing you, isn’t it?
Disclaimer: The following song is a departure from Zero to 180’s usual all-ages policy. Salty language advisory.
“Hey Truckers” Andre Williams & The Sadies 1998
Undergirding The Sadies‘ sound is the guitar work of siblings Dallas and Travis Good, for whom music runs in the family: Father Bruce Good himself is an acclaimed recording artist and part of the (original) Good Brothers, who recorded for Columbia and RCA in the 1970s — and are still recording music well into the new century.
1978 Canadian 45 – not yet available for preview on YouTube
Rounding out the sound is drummer, Mike Bilitsky, and bottom-dweller, Sean Dean, whose use of a stand-up bass, notes former Guess Who guitarist, Randy Bachman, “gives an incredible gigantic bottom end sound.”
Revered psychedelic alt-country roots rockers, The Sadies
(L to R) Sean Dean, Travis Good, Dallas Good, Mike Bilitsky
So, what about those blazing guitar instrumentals that I promised at the top of the piece? Here’s a great place to start: “Northumberland West,” the first track from 2004’s Favourite Colours, which Hanke theorizes (and Zero to 180 concurs) is a playful reference to Clarence White and Gene Parson’s pioneering country-rock recordings from 1967 that were recorded at the Nashville West Club in El Monte, California.
“Northumberland West” The Sadies 2004
Fourteen years hence, Andre Williams and The Sadies would team up once more for a full-length release, 2012’s Night and Day.
Collaboration #1 Collaboration #2
The Sadies would be a most inspired choice of musical artist responsible for providing the soundtrack for Tales of the Rat Fink, the documentary on Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, maverick custom designer of muscle cars – “the only uniquely American art form,” as stated at the beginning of the film (if you kindly disregard jazz, blues, hip hop, barbershop, tall tales, superhero comics & patchwork quilts, et al.)
Link to The Sadies‘ official website