Bloodshot Records 2009
With over half a century of hard roots-rabbling between them, Rosie Flores—the Rockabilly Filly, and Jon Langford—head Mekon, Waco Brother and conductor of the Chicago-based collective the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, blast a sonic contrail stretching from Texas to Wales, from the dusty hill country to the dusky fetter cairns. These two long-celebrated musical forces, one with her cowboy boots firmly in the dance halls and the other with his work boots sloshing around puddles of beer in the pubs, come together for Girl of the Century, an album of spirited and soulful romps through the back roads of American music.
Recorded live-in-the-studio hot with the Cosmos tackling their task at the knees, Girl of the Century crackles with effusive energy. Anchored by the crack rhythm section
of Tom Ray (Neko Case, Devil in a Woodpile) on bass and Joe Camarillo (Waco Brothers, Dollar Store) on drums, the Cosmos find a groove and lock it in, be it the suave blues of “Chauffeur,” the Bob Wills smooth swing of “Little Bells” or the wild rockabilly of “This Little Girls Gone Rockin’.” Throughout, Pat Brennan’s stone-cold honky-tonk piano and John Rice’s count-in fiddle keep the boots firmly on the rail.
Rosie’s front and center vocals have never sounded better. From her saucy growls to kittenish sass to clarion Ronnie Spector smarts, there’s a versatility here she’s only hinted at on previous albums. Smooth, cheek to cheek balladry like “Last Song” and “Dark Enough,” a torch number so swampy it’s easy to imagine her draped over a mossy piano, sashay against a more playful and powerful side when she gets her pop rocks off Maggie May-ish blue-eyed soul style on the Langford penned “Halfway Home” or the Little Sisterera Elvis rocker “This Cat’s in the Doghouse” co-written by Patricia Vonne. For a little slice of heaven from the Conway and Loretta playbook, look no further than the old school duet with Langford “Whose Gonna Take Your Garbage Out?”
It’s all Texas twang and blustery, rolling rrrr’s.
Given that this is a Rosie Flores album, though, one expects guitar heroics. With Langford’s chunky punk roots, John Rice’s clean lines and Rosie’s off the charts vivacity and dexterity, Girl of the Century delivers with a handful of spades. There’s revved up runs straight outta Sun Records on “This Little Girls Gone Rockin’,” the exaggerated wah wah on” I Ain’t Got You,” and urgent straight up rock and roll in “You’re the One.” Check out the jolt she provides on the oft-covered Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm.”
This album is a gas, friends. We're ever so happy to bring these two super cool artists together.