& The Alien Sharecroppers
Back in the Game
catalog-no. dr 0006
rock - 2002
Shame on Me (63K)
Back in the Game (79K)
You Ain't Listening (79K)
BACK IN THE GAME is another perfect
example of the real stuff, and it's pretty clear that down-to-earth classic
rock made by Southeners from Texas to Florida is here to stay. There is a very
enthusiastic scene supporting this special kind of music that the fans have
chosen as their way of life. One of the best examples for the vitality of the
music is Macon, Georgia's Tim Brooks & The Alien Sharecroppers hailing from
the heartland of southern-rock.
In 2001 they toured Europe and were blown away by the genuine love the audiences in Germany, Holland, or Switzerland showed for the music. Guitar giant Tim Brooks and his friends have now delivered a follow-up that is just as good as their first effort - if not better. BACK IN THE GAME is an album that combines musical intensity, a Southern-style musical soul, and geniune craft. The Big Guy (he really is huge!) remains one of the most stunning slide players in the Duane Allman tradition (his phenomenal success with Guitar Player magazine's spectacular "25th Anniversary Ultimate Competition" is not forgotten). He's also one self-confident cat and even GP's big time "Ultimate Guitar Concert" at San Francisco's Warfield Theatre, with legends like Steve Morse, Ry Cooder, Harvey Mandel, John Lee Hooker and Gregg Allman, did not cause him cold feet."Tim Brooks brought the house down" - GP editor Dominic Milano reportedly said about the show. It was a pretty impressive cast, indeed, and certainly a night to be remembered. After that event, Tim Brooks won the "best slide player" category three times in a row before Gov't Mule's Warren Haynes had his share of winning. And it was Gregg Allman himself who really made an effort to get the Georgia band as support act for a couple of his solo shows.
Tim Brooks has been on the local scene since 1994, when he and his brother Gregg released an album as "The Brothers Brooks". He has extensively paid his dues as an opening act for artists ranging from Muddy Waters to Steve Morse. He played countless jams with many Southern artists from Dickey Betts to The (Dixie) Dregs. Special importance in terms of influences must be given to one band in partiular, The Allman Brothers Band. And although Duane and Berry Oakley have long been gone and the fact that Gregg has gone through many personal problems (last year's sacking of Betts made for some bad blood again) there's no other band that has come close to the Allmans in terms of confederate rock spirit and high-flying jam power. And still no other guitarist from the South has been as influential to other Southern slide players as the late Duane Allman while no other vocalist from this genre of music has come up with as much soul power as Gregg Allman. Tim Brooks, the new guy from Macon, is continuing the tradition in dedicated fashion. His main axe is a Gibson Les Paul Custom and his playing is not overly sweet, but bears the heavy imprint of Southern bluesrock fire instead. This is the sound Tim Brooks is truly in love with.
BACK IN THE GAME nicely opens with a groove inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd ("Shame On Me") and it's clear pretty soon that versatiliy is truly one of the band virtues. A bluesy Southern Boogie with Allmanesque slide sounds ("High, Dry And Blue") is next, followed by the ringing of classic Outlaws guitar sounds ("Back In The Game"), and a touch of jazz à la Atlanta Rhythm Section ("Southern Maiden"). But these guys are no copycats, they can incorporate all these various idioms of the music into their own sound.
In the end, it's an album that is of one piece and a lot of feeling went into it. Even "non-confederates" should be able to detect this...
And it doesn't stop here: Tim Brooks & The Alien Sharecroppers deliver a relaxed Dobro instrumental ("Boating Down The Ocmulgee"), an energetic 12 bar rocker ("You Ain't Listening"), an exquisitely dramatic blues number in 6/8 time with more than a touch of Gregg in the vocal department ("Hanging By A Thread") and even a special homage to Beatle George Harrison (R.I.P.), a nice cover of "Think For Yourself" - a song from the Beatles' classic RUBBER SOUL LP. They still like to do covers and their Dylan interpretations were highlights on SEE ROCK CITY. Now this is topped by the finale of the new record. At the end of BACK IN THE GAME there's an absolute peak in terms of intensity: a 15-minute live version of Neil Young's "Down By The River". One of the timeless classics of American rock.
So turn your system on and pump up the volume for the new album from a real southern-rock outfit from Macon, GA, hometown to Little Richard, Otis Redding and The Allman Brothers Band. That's a pretty impressive legacy of music and even if some of the new music sounds like a flashback into the heyday of classic southern-rock, it's paired with a fresh spirit and a shot of youthful energy. BACK IN THE GAME really gets down to business yet again and Tim Brooks & The Alien Sharecroppers are convinced that this music is made for the new millenium.