The Hunt Sales Memorial
Get Your Shit Together
Big Legal Mess / Fat Possum
There is dark humor in Hunt Sales music. It’s right there in the name of his band, The Hunt Sales Memorial, which sounds like it should be a tribute band to a long-dead bluesman or one of those ghost bands still on the road playing the music of departed jazz greats. But Hunt Sales is still alive. Calling his first album as a solo artist Get Your Shit Together is a command he’s probably been hearing and telling himself for most of his life. In his official bio, Sales says, “I’m gonna fucking tell you who I am. What I really am is my kids’ father and my wife’s husband. And I’m a heroin addict. A bad heroin addict for 40 years. I’ve been a crackhead. And I’ve been a criminal. Those are the facts. But I don’t do drugs anymore. I’m sober now. All I do is make music – so let’s not be late for the show.”
Hunt Sales isn’t going to harp on his past associations, but he was playing with Todd Rungren’s Runt when he was just a teenager. Later on, he and his brother Tony provided the foundation for some of Iggy Pop’s best solo work and later were David Bowie’s band-mates in Tin Machine. Knowing Sales’ history is an important piece of the story, but not the most important part. As he sums it up in his press bio, “Yeah, yeah, yeah – Lust for Life is fine, it’s great. But what are we doing today, motherfucker?”
What Hunt Sales is doing is kicking off a solo career at a time in his life when most people are looking to get that house by the lake and kick back. Sales has the drive of one of those Hill Country bluesmen that the folks at Fat Possum brought to our attention. Sales is playing music because he has to. It’s all he really knows how to do. It’s what makes life meaningful.
The songs here are primal blend of gutter punk, Austin Americana and Memphis soul. Since Sales has lived the Street Hassle life, his songs reflect his years of hustling and waiting for the man. “Sorry Baby” is a funky blues shuffle that starts as a traditional I done wrong song, which quickly takes a dark turn, “I’m sorry baby, I’m sorry baby, I put that needle in my neck, instead of being home making love to you.”
“Shamikra’s Got the Hook Up” and “I Can’t Stop” are slice of junkie life rockers. “I Can’t Stop” is a mid-tempo grinder riding on a fat guitar riff. “Shamikra” channels the spirit of Chuck Berry for a back street boogie where it’s always 1959. The primal blues stomp of “It Ain’t Easy” finds Sales struggling out from under years of poor choices, acknowledging, “it ain’t easy doing the right thing.”
If there is one song on Get Your Shit Together that rips your heart out, it’s got to be “One Day”. The song is a down-tempo confession of doubt and loneliness. Hunt sings about the things he’s going to do better, like think about himself a little bit less and not being to proud to ask for help. The gut check comes on the bridge where Hunt sings about missing his mother and father. He sings, “I miss you so much, but you ain’t here, and I’m so alone.” Those lines get to me because it rings so true. I think anyone who has lost their parents feels that way sometimes.
Get Your Shit Together is a surprising debut album. It’s raw, honest and gritty and fun. This release came out of nowhere and floored me. Welcome to your third or fourth act, Mr. Sales.