Swamptrash

Swamptrash

Hillbillies from Promise City, Missouri, consisting of the Scritton Brothers: Elmore James (drums), Coolhand Luke (guitar), Cal (fiddle), Doc (electric banjo), Dexter (mandolin) and Billy Joe (vocals, banjo), or just cheeky charlatans with pseudo Yankee accents gate-crashing bars and clubs in Scotland’s Central Region from 1987-88, SWAMPTRASH were actually based in Edinburgh (the closest hill, Arthur’s Seat!) with a respective line-up of James MacKintosh, Malcolm Crosbie, Neil McArthur, Garry Finlayson, Nick Prescott and last but not least, Coventry-born artist/writer Harry Horse (aka Richard Horne). Note too, that live, they featured Conrad Molleson (bass) and Angus Grant (fiddle).
The ensemble of crusty/goth-looking musicians first supported DEACON BLUE when they ventured into Glasgow. Regurgitating and fermenting classic bluegrass into cowpunk moonshine of the mightiest order, like rivals WE FREE KINGS before them, SWAMPTRASH never took themselves too seriously, their folk-cum-C&W renditions of EARL SCRUGGS’ `Foggy Mountain Breakdown’ and JOHNNY CASH’s `Ring Of Fire’, evidence, if any were needed of their fun-time approach. Fast Forward-endorsed independent, D.D.T., released all of SWAMPTRASH’s milarky-flavoured studio output. Illustrator/caricaturist Harry Horse, of course, did the comic-strip sleeve artwork.
From “thick”-vinyl’d debut LP, IT MAKES NO NEVER MIND (1987) {*6} to `The Bone’ EP the following year (recorded for the BBC Radio 1’s Janice Long and featuring trad number `Rolling In My Sweet Baby Arms’), y’all straw-chewers showed no signs of strain on several of their own compositions, best of all `Square Ass Sherrifs’, `Reuben’s Train’ and `Mamas In The Kitchen’.
After the sextet finger-picked their last bale o’ cotton, they splintered into two or three fragments: Kith And Kin, the short-lived Critterhill Varmints (find the video for `Ghost Train’ in 1989) and Hexology; the latter Harry Horse-associated outfit delivered an eponymous set in 1991 for Grangemouth’s Nightshift Records; future BONGSHANG frontman JJ Jamieson was a member of Hex. All but Neil and Nick formed Celtic/folk-rock musicians SHOOGLENIFTY, while the multi-talented Harry continued on his mission to become an accomplished author and illustrator (including over 100 caricatures for The Great Rock Discography series).
© MC Strong 2002/GSM // rev-up MCS Apr2015

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