Known in the US as A3, Alabama 3 is primarily prominent for their song "Woke up this morning" being the theme song for the HBO hit show The Sopranos. An extension of the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis The Divine. Released Exile on Coldharbour Lane on Geffen in 1997. (Self-)Described as country-acid-house.

Loothi, you rock.

In 2000 they slipped La Peste in under the radar, featuring a cover of "Hotel California", among other songs relatively true to form.

Alabama 3

This rockin' blastin' funky Brixton based collective are gathering a following, world wide, from the ranks of metal heads, funksters Dance/Techno fetishists and Heads all round.

Their sound is catchy and to my ear as original as anything I have heard in a while. Their quest to "reduce Americana to a sample" is intriguing and ambitious. This said, some do find their tunes "strange" and "a little boring" and their lyrics "annoying" possibly "irreverant" , contrasting with those of us who find them uplifting and entertaining.

"On the Thirteenth Day of September, in the Year Of The King Nineteen Hundred & Ninety Six, The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love consecrated the First Presleyterian Church Of Elvis the Divine (UK). A grand party lasting all night was held which was attended by over a thousand worshippers of The King.

From the Alabama 3 website.

I was interested to find the following story on elemental's web site:
"In the American deep south during the 1930s, two black men are hung for allegedly raping a white woman. Their case becomes a symbol for justice miscarrying and they go down in history as the Alabama 2."

An interesting anecdote the veracity of which I have yet to establish.... If it is true however it demonstrates the very powerful ideology behind their work.

Probably their best known and best received tune to date is The Sopranos theme "Woke up this morning" taken from their debut album 'Exile On Coldharbour Lane' which I found to live up to much of the hype that I had been subjected to by friends and colleagues.

Their new album 'La Peste' (which means 'The Plague' in french) is said to be much darker in content and mood but "still wonderful". As I am still waiting for my local record store, "The Record Room" in Sligo to get it in for me, I can't make any informed comment on this one so moving swiftly along...

Alabama 3 apparently also set up the Memphis 9 website, claiming that they were a renegade paramilitary outfit, who'd killed Alabama 3, and engaged in drunken one to one dialogue with the Police Commission about Larry Love's MI5 file.
quite ingenious I think... even just as a publicity stunt!

Overall I think this band would rate unusually high (in my book) with 6/10.

Post Concert Update.

Having now seen Alabama 3 live in Concert I can revise my previous rating. They climb to a majestic 7/10 in my opinion after playing one of the best gigs I have ever been to on the 9th of March in Dublins Vicar St. (a fine venue by the way).

Despite being ever so slightly intoxicated on the night, the band pulled a great show out of the proverbial hat, leaving the widely varied crowd plenty to talk about at the bar after the gig. Old favourites such as "Mao Tse Tsung Said" and "Woke Up This Morning" left the crowd flying high while the darker underside of the newer songs provided an intriguing counterpoint.

Witnness Update - August 2001.

Once again rising to the occasion, Alabama 3 left an enourmous crowd in the Witnness Dance tent gasping for more and wandering around the festival for the rest of the weekend asking "Who were they?" and "Why have I not heard of them before?".

These questions are surprisingly hard to answer. For some reason this particular band seems to be getting far less attention and media credit, than their rapidly growing following would indicate that they deserve.

"I was there / When they crucified the lord / I said "Hello! Hello Jesus, / I'm Johnny Cash."


Alabama 3, despite many rumors to the contrary, are not dead, nor are they gracing the inside of various penal institutions (well, at least, they weren't on May 21st, 2005). I was privileged to attend a full session of the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (UK), presided over by The Right Reverend D. Wayne Love, along with Larry Love and Daisy Love and various other pimps and hos of the congregation as they preached to a willing choir. Despite a near-total lack of advertising, the gig (at the Carling Academy Glasgow) was packed fairly tight.

I've been a willing devotee of the Church since several years before their rise to media notice with The Sopranos; I found Woke Up this Morning on a sampler CD from a record company and chased down Exile on Coldharbour Lane with the drive of a man promised a beer for herding irate camels across the midst of the Gobi desert in June after being fed a meal of salt pork and pretzels.

I found in their music something I had been missing, up to then. One of the tracks on Exile spoke to me - no, two did, really. I had been (and still am) a fan of some electro and pure techno dance music. I've been known to waft through more laid-back venues as well. D. Wayne Love he spoke to me, though, when he said

You don't dance to techno anymore
I don't see under the strobe light on the dance floor
it's been a while since I saw your ultraviolet smile
you don't dance to techno anymore

...and before I could recover from the truth he was speaking, he continued, saying to me

child-
Don't you go to Goa.

Before long I was looking for his wisdom on the shelves with every trip to the record store, with every surf to Amazon.com. I found a darker side of D. Wayne and Larry in La Peste, their next full album release to hit the U.S. shores, with shivers moving up my spine as I heard about the Mansion on the Hill, Too Sick to Pray. I knew that Cocaine (Killed my Community) when I found myself Walking in my Sleep, waking up as I was about to Wade into the Water - and it weren't for no baptism, neither, brother. The Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlife was watching me from across the canal, standing in The Hotel California - and it was Sinking.

Year or two later, nursing a whisky and holding my hurting head, and a disc of wisdom and folksong was laid down on my doorstep by UPS. Told me about the problems I was having, and told me about what I had to do, and what I had to call upon - the Power in the Blood. Woody Guthrie was Reachin', and it was Year Zero; I took my Two Heads and made a deal with ol' Scratch. Buttoned a Yellow Rose into my lapel, and me and The Devil went Down to Ibiza. Them was some Badlands, brother, but he'd made me Bulletproof and they wouldn't Let the Caged Bird Sing. I cried for D. Wayne, saying Lord Have Mercy, The Moon has Lost the Sun, and they let me Come on Home, and off I went into R.E.H.A.B..

Now it's 2005, and I went to Scotland to see the Boys and Girls preach the creed. I can say unreservedly that I went to Scotland to see a band - and it was good. I took the Last Train to Mashville from Buchanan Street station; The Gospel Train that is. I made it to the Academy with my mate in time to hear the Intro, and as the Adrenaline began to hit we warned each other to 'Keep Your Shades On, brother.' Waved my arms Up Above My Head when D. Wayne asked me Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds? but Let it Slide during the Terra Firma Cowboy Blues, because Larry Love had a question for me. How can I Protect You, he asked, when there's Honey in the Rock? I didn't know but didn't care, because as I had greeted him when he stepped out on stage, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. But we staggered to the pub, tinnitus in our heads and music in our souls, and drank pints of 80 shilling until the sound settled into a warm long hum before meandering back to Partick.

Alabama 3 have a current info page (including discography) up at:

http://www.alabama3.co.uk

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