One of my great regrets in life is never being in a barfight. No knock-out brawls with whiskey bottle head-smashing. No people slung crashing down the bar. No bodies thrown out of saloon doors. Not even a “you frontin’, bro” frat boy brouhaha. Never defend a lady’s honor with my fists Never thrown a haymaker. Never had a chair broken across my back. Never even had to Pee-Wee dance to Tequila to avoid a biker beat down. Not once. I imagine this lack of experience has as much to do with my temperament of conscientious objector teddy bear as it does with my Andre the Giant skeletal structure. And while I’m probably too old, cowardly, and/or sensible to have a good-old fashioned alcohol-fueled melee, I know that in a pinch I would I rumble like Patrick Swayze in Road House.
I probably should’ve taken a hint from the sparring creatures on the bottle or the super strong aroma (really more like a pleasant chloroforming), but Firestone Walker’s Wookey Jack is a barfight in your mouth. The spicy rye jabs, the bitter hops come at you with a hook, creamy malt shots to the body. By half a bottle, you are getting woozy. Then the a slightly tart finish comes at you a headbutt. You are finished. At the end, you are left with a black-eye, split lip, and some serious beer blood lust. This isn’t this Jack’s first rodeo. You now know its laid waste to much manlier fools than you. No hugging it out. No acting like adults. No being the bigger man and walking away. It trashes you and leaves before the cops get called. It probably took your girlfriend home too. You black rye IPA scoundrel.
Dr. Feelgood’s Down by the Jetty is the best bar album that I have never actually seen in a jukebox. Rollicking and steady, the songs cover the perfect pub subject matter: wine, women, and song. It chugs along like a late night rowdy dance party, but has enough edge that you could hear it blasting from a car stereo soundtracking some afterhours parking lot fracas. The songs are three minute blasts of blues-punk-RnB bastardizations that sound better and better as the drinks flow and tempers flare.