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Askew Review 15

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- Born in a Bar (TKO Records) I can imagine this disc being blared at a swap meet while a woozy, drunken Hell’s Angel spins around with a half-full, half-crushed beer can in one hand while viciously swinging a tailpipe around with his other mitt.  I can also picture listening to these songs while watching a bunch of horses kick each other.  Anyhow, these fellas play ham-fisted, blustery muthafuckin’ hard rockin’ punk rock.  I think my favorite cut on this 13-song release is probably “No Vyktum No Crime.”  It blasts along goodstyle while railing against bullshit minimum sentencing standards for pot smokers and growers.  A federal prisoner convicted for just such an offense actually sent them the lyrics for this one and they put them to music, and I admire the shit out of them doing that.  And to go off track for just an itty-bitty moment, when Johnny Cash played at San Quentin one time he did the same thing with lyrics from a con who was incarcerated there.  Johnny didn’t know how to read the music the guy sent him so he just wrote a simple tune of his own for it.  The result was a surprisingly beautiful yet very humble song called “I Don’t Know Where I’m Bound.”  But back to Strychnine: They play no-nonsense, sincere and sometimes playful songs that more often than not rock like a sumbitch.  I also like the fact that a lot of the lyrics printed out in the sleeve come with song notes written by the singer.  This helped me understand where he was coming from a lot better than I would have otherwise.  How courteous for a mofo claiming to be born in a bar! –Ben Hunter



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