Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

February 5, 2011

G.G. Allin & the Criminal Quartet ~ Carnival Of Excess

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: country, protest
Label: Ponk Media
Year: 1991
Home: n/a (deceased/disbanded)

Members: G.G. Allin ~ vocals/guitar
Bob Widenhofer ~ guitars
Andy Irvine ~ bass
Paul Reller ~ drums/piano/accordion
Shireen Kadaver ~ b. vocals

I find it fascinating that a potty mouthed junkie whose musical output is at times nearly unlistenable punk with bad shouted pornography passing as lyrics/poety would create something as enjoyable as Carnival Of Excess, let alone outside of Kid Rock & maybe Joe Strummer of the Clash I can't think of another punk rocker who has moved so far over to the world of country music with such high levels of success. To clarify, when I say country music I'm not talking Shania Twain or whoever is on 'American Idol' but Hank Williams old timey honky tonk twang. Slide guitars & solos straight from the hands of James Burton, honky-tonk piano, country rhythms, accordian & backing female vocals create an intimate low-key album of some of Allin's most intimate & autobiographical lyrics ... or if not the acoustic atmosphere keeps it all less alienating than more wild punk oriented outings where the raw music brought out the rawness of the lyrics. Albeit, once a listener can clearly hear Allin's auto-biographical message it's obvious that so much of what he says is a warning for any that might get near him or try to copy him. He lives a hard ramblin' life that's not for everyone ... it's right out of the wild west. Allin still spouts off his normal sex & murder & self-defeatist rampages, but these are some of the most well-crafted themes & lyrics, or at least he does a good job rhyming & using the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus set-up that is often lacking from his other recordings. Considering that country music has always had both an autobiographical aspect, often more than other musical forms, & an outlaw constituency, Allin slides into the genre with relative ease so much that it's almost a shock how comfortable the glove fits. Even knowing the fact that Allin was always a fan of country music it's still a surprise. His cover of Warren Zevon's "Carmelita" with a accordian & a female backing vocal in a delightful version that makes the album worth it. If you want to know who Allin is - or at least who he perceived himself to be - this is a wonderful place to start. This may not be rock which this blog tends to focus on, but for a punk artist to do this good in a different musical genre deserves mention. Not a single song on the album is bad. It's still obscene though, so let soft ears be warned. Though, three songs that end the album ("Pick Me Up", "No Rights" & "Borrowed Time") feature just Allin with a guitar that's either barely playable or he can barely play. It's an awkward listen but an interesting inclusion that sounds better on this album than elsewhere & isn't so much country but an old bluesman charging home or perhaps Armageddon.

(featured on the Roman Midnight Music CD Reviews & Interviews podcast: episode 30 "Rock Messengers Of The Past," September 2011, click here to listen)

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