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Tribute albums have always been a crap shoot for me. Much like a live album, it can usually end up being really bad or it can turn out really quite good. With that being said, a general consensus in my brain has always been to try and avoid tributes altogether. So naturally, when the opportunity came to review, “Untitled 21 – A Juvenile Tribute to the $wingin’ Utter$” I hesitated a little. I didn’t want get myself psyched up for a let-down. On the other hand, this is the Swingin’ Utters we are talking about here. Punk pioneers and forerunners of great musicianship and entertainment. I threw caution to the wind and gave it a chance. After holding my breath and diving in before I tested the waters, here is my verdict:
This one threw my whole mental concept of tribute albums for a loop. Red Scare Records (a label who I was previously unfamiliar with) really knocked this one out of the park. I tip my hat to you Red Scare! Not only was it an eclectic and mixed bag of bands submitting songs, this album actually made me go and dig out my old Utters albums and give them another listen. It is something to be said when a tribute album brings back those same feelings for a band that you had when you first started getting into them. This tribute really shone brightly on the band and their illustrious career. It showcased Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel’s unmatchable lyric writing capabilities and confirmed why this band was not only important to punk rock but how it spawned such other talented side bands as One Man Army, Filthy Thieving Bastards, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, among many others.
Now don’t get me wrong, not every single band and/or song on this album is amazing. Actually a few select ones are quite the opposite. Although, some of the stand-out tracks you should be on the look-out for are:
– Strongman – Dropkick Murphys
– If You Want Me To – Cobra Skulls
– Looking For Something To Follow – Flatfoot 56
– Fruitless Fortunes – The Fucking Buckaroos
– London Drunk – Teenage Bottlerocket
– Dirty Sea – Street Dogs
– Pills & Smoke – Johnny Two Bags
– Beached Sailor – Russ Rankin
– Five Lessons Learned – Teen Idols
– Windspitting Punk – Roll the Tanks
In closing, thank-you Swingin’ Utters for your countless years of 70s punk & folk induced music and for all that you have done (for not only music in general) but for my own personal entertainment. Every time I start work on another project, I always replay in my head Mr. Bonnel’s inspirational line spouted out at the beginning of “The Dirty Sea”…
“Nothing comes over me…nothing like inspiration!”
Congratulations Red Scare Records… you just got yourself a new fan.