Crash Coffin – Crash Coffin (1974; 2013 reissue)

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Possessing a name that suggests a doom metal or hardcore punk-rock band, Crash Coffin is actually a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Born Neil Coffin, the Ohio based artist began playing rock and roll back in the ’50s, and still stages the occasional gig.

Initially released in 1974, Crash Coffin (Gear Fab Records) survives as an interesting and eclectic collection of functions and figures. Clearly not conceived for commercial purposes, the album, which takes in everything from blues to country to polka to jugband to folk to vintage rock and roll sounds, smacks of homegrown charm.

Directed by frantic piano work and whooping wails, the wild and crazy “Masochist Blues” does Jerry Lee Lewis better than Jerry Lee Lewis himself, where “Looney Polka” really is a looney polka tune, “Blue Kazoo” grooves along at a cool and carefree pace, and the moody “Lily” steps in as a reflective ballad.

There’s a lot here to be admired, especially Crash’s bluesy countrified singing. Exuding honesty and expression, his rich and arresting vocals are pitched somewhere between those of Johnny Cash and Buck Owens. Witty and observational lyrics, filled with colorful characters and often humorous meditations on religion and life in general, complete the songs.

A true labor of love, “Crash Coffin” was simply too off the wall to fit into any particular box at the time it was recorded. Had the disc been recorded today, there’s no question the roots rock sector would embrace it and declare it a masterpiece of its type.

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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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