Sunday, June 2, 2019
Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders - The Past Came Callin'
Kicking off with the quintessential Rankoutsiders rocker "If Only I Could Fly Backwards In Time", The Past Came Callin' is not without its scorching moments. "The Ballad Of Crystal Valladares" is a raucous barroom blaster that brings to mind kindred spirits Supersuckers. "Goin' Nowhere" was resurrected from the 14th & Nowhere sessions and packs the expected punch. But many of the album's finest tracks veer from the frenzied punk rock n' roll you might associate with this band and label. I love hearing the Rankoutsiders take the foot off the pedal and show total mastery of country/western, ballads, and middle of the road heartland rock. "Call You On Sunday Night" sounds like it ought to already be a fixture on dive bar jukeboxes all across middle America. "Run" is a song you can play for your Jimmy Buffett loving friends in hopes of turning them to the light side of the force. "Yeah, Ya Had A Bad Night" is finally seeing the light of day after two decades, and I can't listen to it without imagining crowds singing along in unison as they hoist their beers. And one thing I respect about Todd is his willingness to put his own spin on existing songs. "Down In Old Boerne" is an old Texas folk song receiving the Rankoutsiders treatment. The band's version of William Bell's 1962 Stax side "Any Other Way" might be my favorite track on the whole album. "Idle Time", written by Dale Hollon of Sons of Hercules, is breezy country rock fit for 1970s radio. "Somewhere Down The Line" is, of course, an old Lazy Cowgirls song. It was re-recorded because of how perfectly it fits this particular band.
Working again with producer Earle Mankey, Pat Todd has crafted yet another stellar addition to his catalog. The man is one of our great American songwriters, and he's backed by a band that can rock the hell out of even his most reflective material. The Past Came Callin' is such a fitting album title because it reflects both the life experience that inspired a lot of these lyrics and the fact that some of these songs had been lingering in Todd's mind for years. This is just a brilliant album from start to finish - an essential purchase for both longtime fans and anyone who enjoys good, solid rock n' roll with a country influence.