Forgotten series: Royal Crescent Mob – Good Lucky Killer (1994)

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Royal Crescent Mob, a punk-funk quartet from Columbus, Ohio, seemed at the peak of the powers with this, its most cohesive, mature record. So, that was, of course, the end of that.

Good Lucky Killer rocked with a thorough, groovy ease, belying a period of LP inactivity after Sire dropped them — and working as a (unknown at the time) terrific culmination of the R.C. Mob sound.

Formed in 1985, Brian (“B”) Emch, (guitar), David Ellison (vocals, harmonica), Harold “Happy” Chichester (bass, vocals) and Carlton Smith (drums) had briefly gained wider attention through opening gigs with the Replacements, the B-52s and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Already, they had constructed an interesting amalgam. You had the heavy, menacing Mob (Spin the World, the 1989 Sire EP, produced the straight-ahead guitar bash of “Hungry”) but also an almost perfect white-boy funk. That’s the principal vibe on 1991’s Midnight Rose’s, R.C. Mob’s swansong on Sire, best heard on “Pretty Good Life.” That song is perhaps as good as the group got at booty-moving brilliance: Great six-string riff, trampoline bass runs, the lightest synth backing (strictly for coloring) and a talked-more-than-screamed vocal.

Good Lucky Killer distills both impulses. The opening “Hard Drivin,'” a fun ride, boasts rough, processed vocals, this steely guitar stance that never overbalances and a yowling chorus, all held up with a heavy bottom end. Elsewhere, R.C. Mob turns the LL Cool J tune “Mama Said Knock You Out” into a gear-shifting, rock roundhouse. “Candy” also found the band tearing into a three-chord wah-wah grind.

But while the album, and this band, were often good — and sometimes killer — they were not so lucky. Alas, this was the last we heard of the Royal Crescent Mob. Since the group’s demise, Ellison has worked as a tour manager with Alanis Morissette, Indigo Girls, Goo Goo Dolls, Avril Lavigne, and Panic! at the Disco. Chichester went on to work with the Afghan Whigs.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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