For Your Listening Pleasure: The Gourds (and Pogues, Snoop Dogg and VU) at Barleypalooza

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Amazing the things you find when you're not looking for them. Take this morning's accidental stumbled-across, for instance: The Gourds recorded in the old Barley House parking lot on June 1, 1997, during the third then-annual Barleypalooza musical marathon on N. Henderson. (Here's some video, for those in need of a memory-jog.) The Gourds were a young Austin band then, not so far removed from some of their Deep Ellum days as the Picket Line Coyotes. In '97 the band was a ramshackle, rollicking four-piece consisting off Kevin Russell (guitars, vocals, mandolin, "accidental noises"), Claude Bernard (accordion, guitar, "singings"), Oak Cliff-born-n-Plano-raised Jimmy Smith (bass, "grinder wheels") and Charlie Llewellin (on drums, not long before his departure).

Only a year earlier, the Gourds had released their debut -- Dem's Good Beeble -- on a Dutch label, Munich; it wouldn't see Stateside distribution till '97, shortly after which came Stadium Blitzer. A few tracks from those first two albums make the set list. But it's fleshed out with covers I'd long forgotten the Gourds used to perform, among them The Carter Family's "Wildwood Flower," Green on Red's "Gravity Talks," Jerry Jeff's "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" and the Pogues' "If I Should Fall From Grace With God."

And those were the days long before band's cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" had become de rigueur; the gogityershinebox EP hadn't been released yet. On that brutally hot day, at least, "Gin and Juice" was but one part of a three-song, 10-minute medley -- one that also included Kenny Rogers' "Daytime Friends" and the Velvet Underground's "Heroin." Goes well with: this collection of '04 live tracks (including Slobberbone's Brent Best tackling lead vocals on Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer") and a snort of bourbon.

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