Our Paul Wood gives you the lowdown on the best album you’ve never listened to… until now!
When I was younger, but not so young that my taste in music was limited to whatever was in the Top 40, the highlight of my week was to go to my local music shop and immerse myself in the sounds and the vibe of the place (and of course to buy CDs.) Now, I was fortunate enough to actually have a local music shop growing up, and going there on a regular basis allowed me to form bonds with the staff and the other regular patrons which opened up avenues into music I otherwise would have never discovered. When many flocked to the major chains, and were recommended whatever it was that the record companies had paid the store to advertise, I was in a little shop named Sounds Perfect, being introduced to new music on a personal level, by people who understood what I liked, and what I might like. I’m also very particular, and always have been. I could be shown two bands that are almost identical in style and sound, but only like one of them.
Fast forward fourteen or so years (yep, I’m old enough to be able to do that) and it has recently become apparent to me that it had been a while since anyone had recommended any songs or artists to me that I hadn’t already found for myself. Thinking about it, I was usually the one recommending these to friends. I know nowadays streaming platforms offer a similar service, with auto-generated playlists based on other artists and songs you’ve listened to frequently. But not everything worth listening to is on Spotify, Deezer, or your other choice of service. In fact, a few of my absolute favourite albums aren’t, and while I have a VERY broad taste range these days, I’m still rather particular, so oftentimes what they serve up isn’t necessarily to my liking (that’s not to say they never get it right, though).
So, I thought, as was the way in the old days, it was my turn to start suggesting a few hidden gems of audio ambrosia for your potential enjoyment, and my very first personal recommendation is the 2006 album Professional by Scotch Greens. It’s a record that has been regularly featured in my rotation for nearly fifteen years, which I would recommend for a fan of bands in the vein of The Dropkick Murphys, Social Distortion, and Reverend Horton Heat. This album can only be described as ‘Country-Punk’, with its fast-paced, driving drum beats matched with the perfect amount of banjo, the dirty sounding guitar tone and the gritty country-folk twang of the vocalist. From the opening riff of Rumspringa to the cowboy movie inspired instrumental closing track Last Buffalo, the songs on this album are so catchy that you’ll be singing to yourself about your Deaf Girlfriend and looking at property in the countryside before you realise it.
Here’s the catch, this IS one of those albums that isn’t on iTunes or Spotify, and there is very little exposure of this band that isn’t just a brief bio. However, when you do look for them you’ll come across a track called The Professional by Scotch Greens from the soundtrack of a little known movie called Loose Change. While this has a cleaner, more ‘psychobilly’ feel than their other songs, it’ll give you an idea as to whether it’s an album you should try to track down. Oddly, given the track’s name, it does NOT appear on the album Professional, despite there being a titular song present. Professional and The Professional are actually two separate songs by the same band. Personally, I prefer the album’s title track, and in all honesty prefer the whole album to that individual track, so if you like The Professional, it’s definitely worth your time to seek out a way to listen to Professional.
If you’re lucky, you can occasionally find a copy for sale on Discogs, and I’d definitely recommend picking it up if you can. You won’t regret it.
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