Although tremendously talented, Stan Ridgeway can be both pretentious and annoying. Such disparagement does not prevent his music from being incessantly interesting however. With a vocal delivery like a James Cagney impersonator, the former leader of Wall of Voodoo has balanced chutzpah and cheese for the better part of three decades. Ridgeway's 2004 effort, Snakebite: Blacktop Ballads and Fugitive Songs, continued the quirky and bleak worldview that was always the hallmark of classic Voodoo tracks such as "Mexican Radio" and the much-ballyhooed new wave deconstruction of "Ring of Fire." His solo career has featured just one relative hit, the propulsive "Drive She Said," but Ridgeway has always viewed pop culture with a seedy and suspicious eye, seeing it more as an influence than an occupational goal. With influences as diverse as Kurt Weill and Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ridgeway is practically the definition of an acquired taste as he continues to weave his literate tales of lonesome losers against backdrops best suited for gangster and monster flicks of a (decidedly proud) B-movie variety.
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