23 Songs, 1 Hour 16 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Any aficionado of today’s alt-country scene needs to be acquainted with Rank and File. This pioneering cowpunk combo was launched by brothers Chip and Tony Kinman, who applied the punk aesthetic to the rugged country embodied by the likes of Lefty Frizzell and Johnny Cash. Rank and File’s innovative tenure with Slash Records is captured on this compilation. The tunes taken from their 1982 debut Sundown match the Kinman’s well-melded harmonies with bracing guitar riffs and sturdy rhythms. Cuts like “The Conductor Wears Black” and the title tune swagger with Western attitude, while “Amanda Ruth” recalls the upbeat side of the Everly Brothers (who, in fact, later covered the song). A populist outlook informs “Coyote” (a tale of an illegal border-crossing) and “Rank And File” (a working man’s anthem). The band’s 1984 follow-up Long Gone Dead wasn’t as consistently strong with the loss of guitarist Alejandro Escovedo contributjng to its lack of focus. Still, the album boasted some fine tracks, including “John Brown” (featuring Tony’s ominous lead vocal), the jangly “Sound Of The Rain” and the sensitive “Timeless Love.” A decade ahead of their time, Rank and File get the retrospective they deserve on The Slash Years.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Any aficionado of today’s alt-country scene needs to be acquainted with Rank and File. This pioneering cowpunk combo was launched by brothers Chip and Tony Kinman, who applied the punk aesthetic to the rugged country embodied by the likes of Lefty Frizzell and Johnny Cash. Rank and File’s innovative tenure with Slash Records is captured on this compilation. The tunes taken from their 1982 debut Sundown match the Kinman’s well-melded harmonies with bracing guitar riffs and sturdy rhythms. Cuts like “The Conductor Wears Black” and the title tune swagger with Western attitude, while “Amanda Ruth” recalls the upbeat side of the Everly Brothers (who, in fact, later covered the song). A populist outlook informs “Coyote” (a tale of an illegal border-crossing) and “Rank And File” (a working man’s anthem). The band’s 1984 follow-up Long Gone Dead wasn’t as consistently strong with the loss of guitarist Alejandro Escovedo contributjng to its lack of focus. Still, the album boasted some fine tracks, including “John Brown” (featuring Tony’s ominous lead vocal), the jangly “Sound Of The Rain” and the sensitive “Timeless Love.” A decade ahead of their time, Rank and File get the retrospective they deserve on The Slash Years.

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