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The Sadies

Pure Diamond Gold – 1999 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by The Sadies

Dallas and Travis Good, The Sadies' brotherly brain trust, have a well-defined sense of musical history. Their father and uncles comprise one of Canada's most respected country outfits, the Goods, in which the brothers claimed occasional membership. But the brothers' sound away from home was considerably different, first with the garagey surf twang of Phonocomb, then the traditional but eclectically original Sadies.

Their three releases show a wealth of experience. "Precious Memories" established the band's identity and vision. Next came the brilliant collaboration with soul shouter Andre Williams, a session that became an album because of a blizzard. The Sadies' latest original is a pair of short albums jammed on a single disc, with half of the material recorded to 8-track, the remainder on 24-track by alternative uberproducer Steve Albini.

The songs veer madly between hypertraditional country expressions, surf guitar homages and mutations of the two. "Medicine Ball" sounds like a country version of Focus' "Hocus Pocus," while "Higher Power" evokes the brothers' gospel roots. This is another example of what is right about alternative country's hybridization, as well as the power of the Goods.