Forgotten series: Brownsville Station – Yeah! (1973)

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Formed in 1969 by Cub Koda, who later reaped the title as an honorable music historian, Brownsville Station issued a trio of albums prior to harvesting honey with this disc. Although such efforts received kind reviews, they failed to generate substantial sales. Despite the lack of vinyl interest, the Ann Arbor, Michigan band busted their butts touring the local circuit, where they drew a fanatical following.

Released in August 1973, Yeah! (Big Tree Records) featured Brownsville Station’s breakthrough hit, “Smokin’ In The Boys Room,” which zoomed to No. 3 on the national charts. Reflecting a wild orgy between Alice Cooper, the J. Geils Band, Slade and Paul Revere and the Raiders, the obnoxious ode to sneaking ciggies in the school’s loo, clanked, crunched and cackled to a raunchy repertoire of thumping rhythms and shouting choruses. A dozen years down the road, Motley Crue covered “Smokin’ In The Boys Room,” which cracked the Top 20.

Nearly every track on Yeah! could qualify as a jukebox favorite. It’s easy to hear how much fun Brownsville Station had singing and playing these punchy songs smacking of beer stains and the smell of nicotine. The band appears as if they have nary a care in the world. They eat, sleep and breathe rock and roll, and are thrilled to pieces to be sharing their passion with those willing to lend an ear.

Additional winners offered on Yeah! include the brawny bash and flash of “All Night Long” and the senselessly catchy “Let Your Yeah Be Your Yeah,” while a ripping revision of Hoyt Axton’s “Lightnin’ Bar Blues” and a spirited take of the Balloon Farm’s psychedelic scented “Question Of Temperature” should also be given special attention.

Carpeted with vintage guitar riffs gone mad, trashy drumming, shrill harmonica fills and wise-guy vocals, Yeah! serves as a scruffy synthesis of greasy garage rock, party hearty hard rock, bluesy boogie rock and sleazy glam rock. Relentlessly energetic, the album aptly blends slivers of corniness with killer sounds. Yeah! indeed…

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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