If I remember correctly, “the GD sound” was all about slightly muffled vocals doing battle with raucous organs and guitars, all the while propelled by some unrelenting drumming.
Gallon Drunk – You the Night and the Music, From the Heart of Town, The Singles Bar
Gallon Drunk, who'd have thunk it? Three sumptuous CDs, all remastered and choc-full of extra tracks, b-sides and live concerts. It's easy to forget this lot, as they appealed to a particular kind of crowd; Rockabilly, seedy, urban (especially London). If you're below a certain mid-thirties age it's very likely indeed you've not heard them at all, which is a shame. Gallon Drunk were an insane proposition live; you do get a brief fleeting feeling for this on the Radio Berlin show from 1993 (tacked onto the You the Night and the Music CD) and a great gig from Chicago on the Singles Bar CD, replete with a cracking eight minute version of Two Wings Mambo.
Their studio debut YTN&TM is a recording that is packed with the most psychotic, chaotic, head-on rock & roll imaginable; I defy anybody to sit still through Some Fool's Mess or Night Tide for that matter. I'm glad that despite the remastering, all three CDs have that grubby quality that was the band's trademark. If I remember correct, "the GD sound" was all about slightly muffled vocals doing battle with raucous organs and guitars, all the while propelled by some unrelenting drumming. Sometimes I always thought they sounded like a perverted Virginia Plain-era Roxy Music (Eye of the Storm is a great wobbly take on Ferry's lot).
I think I'm right in saying that the compilation of their singles (Tonight – The Singles Bar) followed, any case I bought this record after YTN&TM. Singles Bar is about as raw as rock and roll gets. If you are new to the band its better to start with the studio LPs then work onto Singles Bar, which does admittedly have some of my favourite GD moments, noticeably Snakepit and Gallon Drunk. By their second "proper" LP, From the Heart of Town the sound had become more considered and in some ways pretty abstract. It's still a hell of an LP, right from the menacing openers Jake on the Make and Arlington Road. I'm pretty sure it was tipped for some award. I'm glad this CD has included the great b-side instrumental from the You Should Be Ashamed single - The Amsterdam Run, too.
I'd get your mits on these three CDs as soon as possible.
Words: Richard Foster.