Left Lane Cruiser & James Leg: Painkillers

Covering their heroes proves to be strong medicine.

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The Fort Wayne, Indiana, duo of Frederick ‘Joe’ Evans (guitar/vocals) and Brenn ‘Sausage Paw’ Beck (vocals/percussion) are here boosted by producer Jim Diamond on bass, plus pianner and singing by James Leg (aka John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies). The lo-fi garage-blues sound remains the same, though.

The twist on album number five is that Painkillers is a covers album, and you can learn a lot about folk from the company they keep. Including the Junior Kimbrough boogie that opens, they deliver 10 thumpers in just under 36 minutes, paying homage to legends such as John Lee Hooker (Shake It), Robert Johnson (Rambling On My Mind) and Willie Dixon (a harmonica-graced Little Red Rooster).

They also rattle teeth with Jimi Hendrix’s If 6 Was 9, Led Zeppelin’s arrangement of When The Levee Breaks and an inspired tilt at the Rolling Stones’s Sway.

A feral and fearsome collection, and no mistake.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.