North Bay rockabilly outfit Quarter Mile Combo spent a good piece of 2008-2009 fretting about the slow progress of Motels, Gas and Beer, their first CD with Nettie Hammar (Mighty Slim Pickins) on vocals. Gary Daly (drums) and Justin Barr (guitar) played in the late Hopped Up! and QMC 1.0 while Todd Troublemaker (upright bass) joined from Revival Revue. Collectively these musicians have rocked Sonoma County, the Bay Area and Viva las Vegas for a decade or two.
The CD opens with a few mid-tempo chords that power into a pedal down rocker called “Kitten” — a take no prisoners tribute to the long clawed, human variety. Nettie loves her some cat songs, including “Cougar.” “She’s older than your mother and all of her friends.”
And, to make sure that she’s not just a one cat lady, there are plenty of mean woman without cat songs to go around: “Rodeo Show”, “I’m the little filly with all the brawn”; “Knockout Punch”, “You done me wrong got what you deserved”; “Wrecking Ball”, “Your happy home, I’ll take it all” and “Boss Lady”, “I’ll pull your strings/I’ll make you crawl/You can’t say ‘no, please, stop.'”
There are other themes near to the hearts of greasers and betties like love (“Electrified), hypocrisy (“Preacher Man”), lying (“Word to the Wise”), heartbreak (“100 Miles of Heartbreak”), and of course drinking (“Getting Wild”).
The CD’s 12 original songs seem to push against the boundaries of rockabilly whether its with harmonics here, a drum solo there, backup singers elsewhere or Ms. Hammar sounding at times like Rosie Flores, JoAnn Campbell or Marti Brom. Whatever the production issues, Motels, Gas and Beer was worth the wait.
See a Quarter Mile Combo video at \”Mean Man Blues\” – Quarter Mile Combo.