Dustbin of Rock: Jimmie’s Chicken Shack
When Jimmie’s Chicken Shack first came out of Maryland in 1997, many people didn’t pay much attention to them. Aside from the fact they were signed to Elton John’s record label, there wasn’t much to distinguish them from the rest of the late ‘90s alt-rock pack. But if one listens to the music now, they will be blown away and amazed by what they are hearing.
Their first album, 1997’s pushing the salmanilla envelope is packed to the rafters with great lyrics and memorable hooks. The most memorable would have to be “Hole,” a grindingly quick romp through everyday life with the catchy as hell chorus, “Pull myself up from the hole I dig.” Listen to it again and again and pretty soon you’ll find yourself humming along because it’s irresistible and impossible to escape.
The follow-up, 1999’s Bring Your Own Stereo was a bit of a departure, with slower tempos and interesting lyrics. There are still some standouts however, including “Lazy Boy Dash,” a light romp through what was most prevalent in 1999, frat boys. The acoustic “30 Days” is one of the most interesting songs in their whole catalog because they had never done anything like before and haven’t really done anything like it since. The one song everybody grabbed onto was “Do Right,” which sounded right at home with everything else on the radio. But in the ten years since the song’s release, it sounds quite dated and has had an effect on the rest of the record.
After the modest success of “Do Right,” the band became embroiled in a dispute with their record company and constant lineup changes. The result was no studio material until 2004, when the band signed with an indie and released Re.Present. The album was an attempt to get the band back in the limelight by hooking them up with some of their former tourmates and star songwriters, including Aaron Lewis of Staind, Art Alexakis of Everclear, Butch Walker, Mark Tremonti of Creed and John Wozniak of Marcy Playground. The result is as eclectic as a record can get with styles going all over the place. But if one digs through all the mediocrity, they’ll find some nuggets, most notably “Happiness,” which is one of the band’s best songs. With a driving beat propelled by temporary drummer Kevin Murphy, formerly of Earth to Andy, the band finds the right groove and never lets up. The song is an absolute masterpiece but unfortunately was neglected in favor of “Falling Out,” the band’s collaboration with Aaron Lewis, while still a great song, it just doesn’t have the power of “Happiness.”
All in all, the band have had a very scattered discography, but sprinkled amongst it are some really great songs that deserve the recognition they fully deserve. Maybe one day, they will.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WR3gF9J0hQ (Do Right)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzf9-HkpKMQ (Falling Out)