Have you ever been on a road trip through Florida and stopped at a weird roadside reptile house? After you make it through the gift shop, you pay your two-dollar admission to see the reptiles and the man behind the counter hands you back three fives and three ones with his gnarled left hand that looks wracked with eczema. The reptile house ends with some otherworldly creature, the sight of which warps your mind with confusion and even a bit of fear. You turn to find the exit and discover the entire building has disappeared and you’re standing in the middle of a Florida swamp and the only thing nearby is a lizard with a strange-looking left claw.
No? Well, if you had, this is the album that would probably be playing in there.
The Bloody Jug Band is a great goth-country band from the swamps of Florida. They are also a real jug band. They consist of Cragmire Peace (vocals and washboard), Stormy Jean (vocals and percussion), Randall Scandal (mandolin), Bloody Rick Lane (harmonica), Brian Shredder (guitar), Seth Funky (washtub bass), and Big Daddy Jerm (jug – Yes, jug!). If you think jug bands are something from a bad Hee-Haw sketch, the Bloody Jug Band is here to not only change your mind, but also to fascinate and terrify you.
Coffin Up Blood opens with “Graverobber Blues,” which addresses the rough life of those who purloin the putrid. Everyone’s always after them with pitchforks and torches; and name one mad scientist who pays well. It’s a solid opening track and instantly made me a fan of this band. Cragmire Peace and Stormy Jean (who looks so great in a fedora than any man seeing her wearing one will probably never wear one again) belt out a great duo and Randall Scandal smokes on this track.
Just like he does on “Chained to the Bottom” (with haunting harmonica by Lane), a creepy song about lost souls trying desperately to escape Hell even though they know the odds are against them. “Hidden Good” is about a man who knows he’s a bad egg, but he hopes what’s under his hard shell is bright and sweet…but he doubts it. “Blacktooth Growl” is a hot track with more fantastic harmonica by Lane that sounds like it could be David Lynch’s ringtone.
Brian Shredder and Rick Lane pack a two-fisted wallop on “Blood Train,” and Seth Funky’s washtub bass drives the song like the locomotive in the title. Just so you don’t think all of their songs are about death, “Moon Bathing,” (which could be a werewolf ballad) is a beautiful thing to behold, “Devil’s Hand” is a funny song about the devil trying to seduce a lovely gal who constantly rejects him, “Reaper Madness” is another song with a powerful one-two punch of mandolin and harmonica, “The Pain” has great vocals by Stormy Jean that will make every man in every honky tonk offer to buy her a drink, “Boy Named Lucy” is both a fun Johnny Cash tribute and a reminder to lay off the bullying because that kid you push around could be the anti-Christ. “Roadkill Boys” is quite simply, a song about vultures. I think. It could be a song about people who enjoy eating roadkill and possibly dead human beings. I’m not sure I want to know. “Cold, Cold Sweat” is a toe-tapper that reminds you to be careful what you sign before reading the fine print. Everyone seems to have fun on this track. The album ends with “If You Want Blood.” In it, the band pretty much challenges any of their doubters and naysayer to a fight.
Blood, the Devil, and death are the common themes of Coffin Up Blood (go figure), but there’s a wink in the collective eye of the Bloody Jug Band. You’ll have a fun time hearing their warnings about Old Scratch.
And I wouldn’t challenge any of them to a fight. Heck, Stormy Jean would just bat her eyelashes at me and I’d fall over.
~ Nik Havert
Nik Havert is a writer, DJ, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer.
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