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Askew Review 15

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- Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll (Time Bomb Recordings) Mike Ness is a fuckin’ legend and probably the coolest mofo I don’t personally know.  In 1990 he and his bandmates released my favorite record to come out that year (Social Distortion- I don’t think there’s ever been a finer sequence of songs than tracks 3,4, 5 &6 on this one than on any album before or since).  I was so into them that when they came to Boston to support the record, my incredibly broke ass rolled pennies and took bottles back just to be able to buy a ticket to see ‘em.  It’s an extremely pleasant surprise that, a full 14 years later, Mike and company have now put out my favorite album of 2004.  It’s been far too long since a new release has made me really feel something tangibly, powerfully good, and I thank Social D. for putting me back on the path of righteousness with this one. 
     Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll is Social Distortion’s first studio album in 8 years.  It’s dedicated to founding member Dennis Danell, who died in 2000.  Ness ’s songwriting has never been better, and probably the best song on the disc, “Don’t Take Me For Granted,” was written specifically for Danell.  It blasts along as a mighty tribute to a pure spirit with lines like “I’m your worn out leather jacket/I’m the volume in your fucked up teenage band.” “Reach For The Sky” and “Live Before You Die” are two of my other favorites on the disc, and while maybe not specifically about Dennis Danell, they still embrace the theme of getting the most out of life now because you never know when the end will come. They’ve got that vintage Social Distortion salt of the earth mixture of toughness and tenderness, the music both corkingly manly and gorgeously melodious.  And on these songs and throughout the disc, Ness ’s strong, no-fuckin’-nonsense voice is at its very finest.  Another one that rules is “Nickels And Dimes,” which beautifully revisits the classic Hank Williams/Johnny Cash-influenced down and out, diamond in the rough Ness protagonist.  This is starting to sound more like a press release put out by Time Bomb than an impartial review by Askew, so I’m gonna shut the fuck up now.  Buy immediately. –Ben Hunter



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