Sugar Hill CD SUG-CD-3922, 2001
Covering the business
Linda Dailey Paulson, 6 October 2002
Since the Gourds were taken under the wing of Sugar Hill, much of the Austin-based group's earlier works are being reissued. Thus far, we've had Stadium Blitzer and now Shinebox, an expanded reissue of the out-of-print 1998 live EP Gogitchyershinebox.
The band sounds looser and more comfortable on most of these tracks, perhaps because most of the selections are covers. There's a good brief version of The Dillards' "Dooley" and a nice rendition of Nils Lofgren's "Everybody's Missing the Sun." Selections also include tunes by David Bowie and Townes Van Zandt. Compared to the rest of the tunes, "Lament" seems an extended jam as it approaches the five-minute mark. Recorded live, it moves into "Trampled by the Sun" a mediocre whine fest in comparison to the rest of the tracks. And those are the originals - case closed.
It should not go unnoticed that this is the CD with The Gourds much lauded, slightly notorious, cover of "Gin & Juice." The Snoop Dogg song, which hails the consumption of the aforementioned beverage supplanted by even more Tanqueray with chronic, is a grassified (probably in both senses of the word) party anthem replete with words to make yo mama blanch. Yes, this even includes references to women designed to send even the most timid feminists into a fury. A big difference between the cover and the original, though, is that you can actually understand the lyrics in this articulate version enough to be peeved. It would have been nice to end the CD with this track rather than open with it. Most other tunes pale in comparison to this good time jam.
Shinebox seems to be prime evidence the Gourds are at their best when interpreting other folks' songs. Good junk food listening with little bitter aftertaste or residual guilt.