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.