Rock That Babe
Throughout the past year, there have been several artists who have actively protested against the Bush administration. There hasn’t been this much politically motivated music since the Vietnam era. But the best anti-Bush song does not come from the Dixie Chicks or Pearl Jam. It comes from a folk quintet known as The Mammals. “The Bush Boys” chronicles everything from Bush Jr.’s stealing of the White House (“Democrats had the higher amount/But they lost because Florida could not count”) to Bush’s dubious reasons for going to war (“Bombs away where the money’s at/ How have we all been made housecats”). And all of this hovers around an infectious chorus: “Hush little baby, don’t you cry/Daddy’s gonna buy you an alibi/If that alibi don’t work/Daddy’s gonna bribe the county clerk/If that county clerk don’t bribe/Daddy’s got Congress on his side/And if that Congress still won’t budge/Daddy’s in tight with a Supreme Court judge.” “The Bush Boys” may be the best anti-Bush song, but it is not the best song on Rock That Babe. That honor belongs to the cynical “Bad Shoes Blues.”
“Bad Shoes Blues” is about more than just having a bad day. The wordplay infers more than just the blues; it’s about how everything is not what it seems. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose” and “Nice to meet your wife/ Oh, excuse me that’s your daughter,” are just two examples of the underlying cynicism that creates a masterpiece of pessimism.
For a band that’s only been around for three years, this album is a remarkably fluid mixture of original tunes and traditional arrangements, including a beautiful version of Allen Ginsburg’s “Lay Down Yr Mountain” that could easily be used in a nature video or a film marketing the benefits of pacifism. The traditional “John Henry” and the opener “Fall on My Knees” showcase just how much fun these five talented musicians have making music.
Rock That Babe is the result of impeccable musicianship and songs that make the listener think and feel, which is exactly what music is supposed to do.
The Mammals www.themammals.net