Mountain of Love (Alabama 3), Concorde II, Brighton, 2 Dec.2008

You know how it is when people evangelise. You smile, nod your head and then shove an invisible finger in each ear. The first time I heard Exile On Coldharbour Lane, I was unreceptive. My friend, on the other hand, was entering a transcended state even before he hit the play button. ‘You’ll love it!’ he beamed. What I heard was good, but it didn’t burn bushes for me or part the clouds. In fact all I could focus on was the crudeness of the harmonica.

A few days later I cranked up my own copy on the car stereo. This was when it hit me. It actually sounded fantastic. Immediately the world was a better place and before the month was out I had subscribed, unconditionally, to a new subculture. Then I too found myself evangelising. Alabama 3 made me chuckle inside. It made me groove. It was clever, it was sleazy, it was irreverent. It had a punky edge and musical depths. It had a lyrical wizardry and it was relevant. It was an adventure. It threw high fives at roots Americana. It flashed a V at decorum. It gave prejudice the bird. Most importantly it had a layer of raw harmonica that sat perfectly… (more…)