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Somewhat misleadingly named, Shockabilly created some of the most bizarre, audience-dividing music ever to fall under the rock banner. More of a demented rock/jazz/country/Bluegrass/Free-Improv/noise group than one that had anything to do with Rockabilly, they evolved out of guitarist/singer Eugene Chadbourne's early 1980s quintet, one that also featured John Zorn on alto sax and duck calls. The trio made a habit of dismantling songs by Jimi Hendrix, Bill Monroe, Johnny Paycheck and others in concert, yet no one would ever mistake them for a "cover band" -- their altered tempos, bent vocals, and death-defying guitar freakouts simply wouldn't allow it. In the studio, they focused more on originals -- many of them surprisingly earnest neo-protest-folk songs -- with bassist/keyboardist Kramer's production adding a thoroughly warped psychedelic touch to their oddly mixed recordings. Though no one ever accused them of being hi-fi, easy to listen to, or even consistently great (patience is required), the fact remains that Shockabilly were a unique entity, not since duplicated and not likely to be any time soon.
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