Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Album Review: Blood On The Trucks by Bad Dylan

Alex, formerly of Skank Agenda and No Ta, has been hard at work organising a charity album. It's quite a fun and interesting concept for an album. It features a backing band and a collection of singers from various punk bands taking lead vocal duties on the songs. To make it that little bit more interesting the backing band have taken the moniker of Bad Dylan and each song is a cover of a Bob Dylan song. The album is cleverly titled Blood On The Trucks, playing on the title of Bob Dylan's album Blood On The Tracks. This title also ties in with the charity that the album is supporting - SkatePal, a charity that helps build skate parks and teaches children how to skate in Palestine.

Full disclosure: I know absolutely nothing about Bob Dylan so can't compare each track to the original. It's only because Emma mentioned that Bad Dylan sounded like Bob Dylan that I thought to check. Thanks to Emma and Google for helping me with this - I could have looked very silly. Because of my lack of knowledge on all things Bob Dylan, I've been through the album and picked out my personal favourites - maybe they'll make me go and check out the originals.

The very first track on the album turned out to be one of my favourites. Deeker of Make-That-A-Take Records, Uniforms, Joey Terrifying and Tragical History Tour takes vocal duties on the song It Ain't Me Babe. Beginning with a short audio clip we are then treated to a fast paced street punk fuelled jam. It was the chorus that especially stood out to me on this track with its gang vocals giving the song a more raucous feel to it.

Alex of Skank Agenda/No Ta takes lead vocal duties on the third track, You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. This cover really reminded me of Skank Agenda, a great band that I only got into just as they were splitting up. The vocal delivery is quite laid back, it really helps you hear and appreciate the lyrical content of the track. The drumming on the song really caught my attention as well, fast and furious throughout, getting the blood pumping. There is also a hint of Rancid about the track, musically anyway. Alex and Tim Armstrong sound nothing alike.

A quartet of vocalists help out on Idiot Wind. Matty and Cait from Roughneck Riot are joined by Jen from Hello Mabel and Molly from Bolshy. The four singers each take different verses on the track, giving it a varied sound before sharing the chorus. The thing about the song that really caught my imagination was actually right at the end where the foursome finish the song accapella style and sound fantastic together.

Acid Drop are a band that are sadly calling it a day soon so it was great to hear Ben Hannah's voice pop up on the album. His gravelly style gives a lot of life to any song he sings, whether it's his own or covering a Bob Dylan track named Like A Rolling Stone. At times on this track it feels like he is preaching to a crowd - if he is he can consider me converted.

Tangled Up In Blue is another track that features a collection of singers. This time Richard, Roy and Jaap from Black Volvo offer their take on what I assume is a Bob Dylan classic. A good dollop of hardcore punk rock really got me excited, - I can't help but think that any Bob Dylan superfans could never imagine his tracks ever sounding like this. There's a nice little tribute to him at the end of the intense two and a half minutes of the song with a small piece of harmonica playing.

I was a little disappointed that Jens, Thomas and Jason of Matilda's Scoundrels' track wasn't more of their usual folk punk style but it was interesting to hear them sing in a different style. They took the vocal reigns on the song Hurricane. The vocal delivery is almost like the chaps are reading a story to a crowd with a musical backing. This really got me listening quite intently to the track and is another nice change of style for the compilation.

Tim Loud's version of Isis was the first track on Blood On The Trucks where I figured this is quite close to the original version of the song. I was right (when I checked out the original). Tim Loud's version feels much louder and angrier and has more of a bluesy sound to it than the more folky sounding original. It's clear that on Tim's cover he had a lot of fun with playing around with the track and adding his own spin on it.

Clearly a lot of time and energy went into creating this album and it's for a fantastic cause. If that's not reason enough to buy it then you are also spoilt with SEVENTEEN fantastic and unique punk rock covers of one of the most influential (apparently) artists of all time.

Stream and download Blood On The Trucks here:

Like Bad Dylan here: