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The Riptones

Extra Sauce – 1997 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by The Riptones

They've given us a sip on three different Bloodshot anthology albums, and put out a couple of do-it-yourself CDs, but for most people, this will be the first real taste of Illinois's Riptones. And it will leave many of them using "Extra Sauce" the way Hank Williams used his own brand of sauce. Musically, a simple, but apt, comparison is to The Derailers. Although The Riptones don't have as blatant a Bakersfield influence, they do have the upright bass, similar guitar stylings, and at least sometimes a vocal similarity as well.

Most importantly, they're as good. The songs, mainly by lead singer Jeb Bonansinga (whose brother Tod is along to provide sibling harmonies), are catchy, with simple lyrics that nonetheless steer clear of cliches. "County Fair," a detailed chronicle of an ordinary day at the fair, is a humorously distictive number. Other highlights include "How Mean You Really Are" and "The Meanest Man In The World," but despite that theme, The Riptones make music that will leave you smiling.