Ghoultown – Curse of Eldorado [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Yeah, yeah, ya’ll’ve told me: reckon I’m the only one ’round these parts that loves the Lone Star State’s Ghoultown. Staffer ev’n says to me, “What’s’there to like?” But he ain’t considered this: “Wha’s there not  ta like?” Tha’s right, fuck ya. Jest the same, Ghoultown‘s my guiltiest pleasure. And I ain’t all that ashamed neither. Living in this Sonoran dustbowl, ya suck down alotta dustballs, trade glares with alotta gun-totin’ desperadoes, and shoot down the finest tequila in the world. I reckon Ghoutltown done speaks to me. And, while many ya ain’t heard of ’em, these sumbitches been puttin’ out tunes since ’99. Hell, half ya ain’t even born that time. Lez not be forgettin’, Count Lyle Blackburn done researches ‘Merica’s urban legends and them monster myths, and even scrapped with doomsters Solitude Aeturnus as their original skinsman, and bassist, too. ‘Stead of bitchin’ like Cali-forn-y-ans, get some whiskey done ya throat, strap on yer six-gun, and head on down to the bar. We got some fightin’ ta do.

Unfor’une-y, ’cause ya yella-bellies ain’t got the stomach for Ghoultown‘s pyschobilly, S’ghetti western sound, Lyle and kin had to rustle up some dough on their own. With the help of some mighty-fine folk (aka real music lovers), the grace-a God blessed us with Curse of Eldorado. Comin’ up behind Ghost of the Southern Son (my secon’ favor’t Ghoultown record), Eldorado‘s got some shit to prove. I reckon, Ghoultown‘s gonna have a hard time ever toppin’ that one. But, like Life After Sundown, we got sum punkish nods to the Misfits, them subtle croonin’s to danzig, and a whole heapin’-of-a whistlin’ and hollerin’ as only the Godfather, Ennio Morricone, can write. If’ere’s one thing I can say ’bout this here new alb’m, it’s that these wrily Texans soun’ like their havin’ a hell-a-time.

After the mood-settin’ instrumental “Eldorado Rising,” them Morricone choirs get “The Badlands” a-groovin’. Toss in the ban’s classic trumpets and you got yerself a Ghoultown song in the making. Simu-lar-ly, “Leave You in the Dust” and “Night of No Tomorrows” get yer boots a-stomping on that bar rail like yer crunching rattl’snake’s heads under yer heel. The first’s a gallop with a fanciful chorus that leaves my lips chapped and throat dry. The second’s a race across op’n desert. It ain’t no ride into the sunset; ‘stead it’s a ride outta it, with the posse at yer back. When the night’s been draggin’ long and them boys across the bar keep eyein’ ya, fire up the back-to-back “Bullets Don’t Argue” and “Heads You Die, Tails I Kill You.” Walk o’er their table and toss ’em a coin. I goddamn guarantee them boys’ll be up from their seats, slappin’ the leather at their hips. Like “The Badlands,” “Bullets Don’t Argue” is yer upbeat shootout. Simple potshots o’er the head, but you ain’t aiming to kill ’em yet. Ya jest need-a shake off the drink and find cover. “Heads You Die, Tails I Kill You” s’when ya square up and put one between their eyes.

Switchin’ up the pace of the album, ya got the back-to-back “Trail of the Snake” and “Running from the Sun.” Both aim to be the slowest of the album, and they’re also couple the best ‘ritten on the record. I reckon when this fuckin’ pan-epic ends, “Trail of the Snake” will find an empty barstool next to the lonesome arm of “Running from the Sun.” Her voice singin’ ‘er devilish temptations in the ear of the lonely traveler. His heart all broke up by the loss of his bride. His trumpets blarin’ as a hate brews in him she ain’t ‘pared for. The stool at the end-o’-the bar’s for the “Worm.” He’s ain’t up to about two things right now, I reckon: tossin’ shots and causing a ruckus. If ya’s ever chased the worm, you know what I mean. He’s in an agitated state and the barkeep’s doin’ all he can to stay up with him. Then, when you leas’ expect it, he chills—that worm gettin’ to him at last. 

Ya, I like Ghoultown. And, hopefully, after this, ya’ll will too. Everythin’s a-right mood at a-right time. But, in the end, I reckon I ain’t askin’ ya to try ’em again. I’m tellin’ ya.

Tracks to Check Out: “Bullets Don’t Argue,” “Trail of the Snake,’ “Worm,” and “Running from the Sun.”


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