Dallas Good’s Last Hurrah! The Sadies Live Magic is Finally Caught on Disc.
Released in the wake of the sudden and unexpected passing of Dallas Good in February, there might have been a tendency to have viewed this review in an overly sentimental light, but thankfully there’s no need. Having seen the Sadies several times live, I’ve never been in doubt about their ferocious and thrilling ability to blow away any audience – but on record I’ve often been a bit disappointed – that’s not necessarily down to the recorded quality on offer – it just hasn’t always matched the live experience – that was, until now.
The Sadies have always soaked up and developed a mix of Garage, Surf, Psychedelia and the strangest parts of the Country spectrum; and that’s what’s on offer here – the big difference for me with this release is the production by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry – if ever someone’s caught ‘fire in a bottle’, Parry has done so here.
Opener “Stop and Start” is a scorching piece of Garage Punk-Psychedelia that could have sprung from (a better produced) Nuggets compilation – no need to wish that it was 1965 again.
“Message to Belial” takes the Stranglers’ “Golden Brown” time signature and trippy feel, but takes us to far darker, more sinister places, (the irony of the opening lines, although directed elsewhere are contain an eerie prescience
“Long lost, all but forgotten/My dearest departed, oh, where have you gone?“
whereas “More alone” brings in the signature twang of the band and also contains lyrics that tug at the heartstrings and the dark side of the mind
“I paid my respects to a close friend I lost yesterday.“
“So Far So Few” dips back into the 60’s West Coast before excess made things sloppy; with some thudding Keith Moon-esque drum fills from Mike Belitsky as does “No-One’s Listening.”
“All the Good” treads the most ‘old-timey path’ with rhythmic walking-pace banjo and stellar acoustic guitar lead and it’s matched as a quieter number with “You Should be Worried” with its warm acoustic picking juxtaposed with the disturbing mantra of
“I’m not worried about you/But you should be worried about me.”
Punkiest cut yet is the storming “Better Yet”, again with echoes of the early Who in its rhythmic shifts -only louder, angrier – and just……..better…
”Cut Up High and Dry” asks
“Is a better home awaiting, lord in the sky?” (the foreshadowing of these lyrics gets spookier…) and benefits from gorgeous sympathetic production from Parry, transforming a medium paced Sadies standard into a classy mix of shimmering sound and dynamics.
“Ginger Moon” races towards the album’s close with one of the finest Sadies vocal performances cut to disc and a red-hot guitar solo that will have you reaching for ice cubes to put on your ears.
Things come to a conclusion with the instrumental “End Credits” – a Calexico/Morricone type soundscape that thunders away into the distance.
The late Dallas Good’s “Anti-bio” for the album joked that
“Colder Streams is, by far, the best record that has ever been made by anyone. Ever.”
Well, that’s quite a claim, but it certainly beats a lot I’ve heard over the years; and to paraphrase his words – it is, by far, the best record that’s been made by The Sadies……. ever.
A fitting farewell to Dallas Good and hopefully it’s not the end.
Review by Nick Barber
Released 31st July 2022
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