(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Soul Food, 6/10
Popular Favorites, 6.5/10
Play Nine Songs With Mr Quintron, 6/10
Reigning Sound: Break Up...Break Down (2001), 5/10
Reigning Sound: Time Bomb High School (2002), 5/10
Reigning Sound: Too Much Guitar (2004), 6/10
Reigning Sound: Love And Curses (2009), 5/10

Il cantante e chitarrista Greg Cartwright formo` i Compulsive Gamblers a Memphis (Tennessee) intorno al 1990. Il gruppo registro` alcuni singoli, raccolti piu` tardi su Gambling Days Are Over (Sympathy, 1995).

Cartwright, ribattezzatosi "Oblivian", formo` poi gli Oblivians con Eric "Oblivian" Freidl (canto e chitarra) e Jack "Oblivian" Yarber (batteria). I singoli Call the Shots/ No Reason To Live (1993), Static Party/ And Then I Fucked Her (1994), Sunday You Need Love (1994), l'EP Blow Their Cool (1994), con Blew My Cool, e il mini-album Never Enough (Sympathy, 1994) proponevano un garage-rock ancor piu` spavaldo e sguaiato.

L'album Soul Food (Crypt, 1995), che raccoglie alcuni dei singoli ed EP dei primi due anni, e` un disco che spazia dal blues alla new wave, ma soprattutto sfodera il rock'n'roll selvaggio di I'm Not A Sicko, And Then I Fucked Her, Blew My Cool, Static Party, Cannonball e No Reason To Live. Qualche cover di troppo impedisce al disco di decollare come potrebbe.

Sympathy Sessions (1996) raccoglie il mini-album del 1994 e qualche altro singolo ed EP.

La tecnica del complesso non miglioro` di molto, ma, se non altro, le canzoni di Popular Favorites (Crypt, 1996) conservavano il furore delle loro esibizioni dal vivo. Questo, il loro capolavoro, e` un disco di lamenti disperati suonati alla maniera perversa di Cramps e Jon Spencer, dall'epico jump blues di Do The Milkshake al feroce rock and roll di You Better Behave, dal punk-rock demenziale di Guitar Shop Asshole all'epilessi in stile Fleshtones di Strong Come On; piu` il solito massacro di cover (dal lascivo voodoobilly della Christina di Brownie MCghee alla marziale tortura di The Leather). Brutali, perversi, demenziali... ma anche gloriosamente trascinanti.
Per Play Nine Songs With Mr Quintron (Crypt, 1997) scelgono un repertorio di gospel e si fanno accompagnare da Mr Quintron all'organo Hammond. Feel All Right sfreccia selvaggio alla Ten Years After di Going Home, I Don'T Wanna Live Alone e` un voodoobilly suonato a tutto volume e urlato da licantropo, Ride That Train e` un acrobatico rockabilly alla Cramps, etc.

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After disbanding the Oblivians, Greg Cartwright released the "solo" album Head Shop (1997), a tribute to the early Sixties, and then reformed the Compulsive Gamblers, that released Bluff City (Sympathy, 1999) and Crystal Gazing Luck Amazing (2000). Then Greg Cartwright formed Reigning Sound, a more "adult" outfit that penned nostalgic retro` country-rock ballads on Break Up...Break Down (Sympathy, 2001) and Time Bomb High School (In The Red, 2002).

The Reigning Sound made a surprising u-turn on Too Much Guitar (In The Red, 2004). The wild, exuberant, galvanizing punk/surf/rockabilly/rhythm'n'blues fusion of this album mined vintage sounds with a determination worthy of the Fleshtones. The spirit of the band was best epitomized by the catchy Merseybeat-style singalong Your Love Is A Fine Thing, When You Touch Me (with tribal drumbeat and droning harmonica), We Repel Each Other (the 1,000th variation on the 13th Floor Elevators' You're Gonna Miss Me). and the supersonic punk explosion of Medication. The album was only dragged down by a few roots-rock ballads (notably If You Can't Give Me Everything). Alas, the band was more visceral when tackling covers of soul classics (notably Sam & Dave's You Got Me Hummin' and Hank Ballard's Get It) than its own material.

In the meantime, Yarber formed South Filthy, that released You Can Name It Yo' Mammy If You Wanna (2002).

After composing and arranging Dangerous Game for Shangri-Las' vocalist Mary Weiss, Greg Cartwright further refined his retro melodic art on the Reigning Sound's Love And Curses (2009), that only featured one cover. The album (thanks also to Dave Amels' keyboards) recreated the atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s while at the same harnessing the populist power of Bob Dylan's rants and Bruce Springsteen's odes. The net effect is to greatly moderate their garage-rock anthems (Call Me) and to evoke the specter of Dylan's jangling elegies of the mid-1960s (The Bells). In fact, with Brake It Cartwright finally sculpted the soaring ballad that he had been pursuing all the time. And the polka Banker And A Liar has a charming Eastern European charm. Even Cartwright's catchy singalongs have lost their bite (Dangerous Game). So what the album gains on one hand it loses on the other one. Too many of the songs are disposable, despite the fact that three are gems. Again, the most visceral song is the one and only cover (Stick Up For Me).

The Parting Gifts of Strychnine Dandelion (In The Red, 2011) were a poppy collaboration between Greg Cartwright, and the Ettes' vocalist Coco Hames.

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