The Reigning Sound’s “Love And Curses” Is Sovereign Over All

The Governor of North Carolina has a weekend retreat high above Asheville, North Carolina.  It would be a nice place for a tea party — or the rockingest hoedown with local garage rock royalty, The Reigning Sound.  I can see the ghost of Zelda Fitzgerald doing the frug with Root Boy Slim, and Thomas Wolf twisting with Andie McDowell.

What is a band that make such a din doing in the Smoky Mountains? Much to the chagrin certainly of record store clerks, possibly of bartenders, and undoubtedly all the hep cats in Memphis, Tennessee, Greg Cartwright up and left for Asheville sometime after Time Bomb High School. With a voice that can range from John Lennon circa “Twist and Shout” to Plimsouls-era Peter Case to Paul Westerberg on “Sadly Beautiful,” Cartwright runs the gamut from blue-eyed soul to roots rock belters. I liked Too Much Guitars, but let’s just say there was truth in advertising when it came to that 2004 album.   Love And Curses, which is tearing up the charts at least on my iPod, sounds like it was produced by Alan Betrock, from session tapes bootlegged from Crawdaddy rehearsals.  Fast or slow, hard or soft, The Reigning Sound sits on the true throne of real rock’n’roll.

Garage rock is a lost art, like changing your own engine oil.  Recondite skills are needed, rites to be observed.  Let’s face it, we love him, but don’t really know what to make of King Khan, and now that The Soledad Brothers have bitten the dust, and The Chesterfield Kings are wheezing, only The Fleshtones seem to know the way to Hitsburg, USA.

Ah, but in a world dominated by bar codes and not nearly enough bar chords, Love and Curses shines through.  Give it up for royalty, these blue bloods of rock’n’roll play the hemophiliacs’ twang.  Go listen to “Broken Things” or the Mekon-esque “If I Can’t Come Back” and banish all the pretenders.

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