Fricke's Picks: Charlie Pickett's Charge

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There are no hits on Bar Band Americanus: The Best of Charlie Pickett And (Bloodshot), but the title of this anthology of Eighties hard labor and country-garage gunfire by singer-guitarist Charlie Pickett is no lie. Pickett forged his brawling-roots mix of Johnny Thunders, Sun Records and trailer-park Lou Reed in Florida bars, then bottled it to in-your-face effect on hot vinyl like the 1981 single "If This Is Love, Can I Get My Money Back?" the 1984 EP Cowboy Junkie Au-Go-Go and the 1988 album The Wilderness (produced by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck). That rattle 'n' smack now sounds raucously prescient, like a long-lost high-time link between the Replacements and the Drive-By Truckers, while this collection's one new track, "Penny Instead," shows that Pickett — who now works as an attorney but still finds time to play for the door hasn't forgotten how to set a saloon afire.

[From Issue 1070 — January 9, 2009]