Rough and ready, down in the dirt, Gonstermacher is a brassy hard-biting rock and roll outfit with its face against the lashing winds and heart busted in the worlds of pain in mortal existence. Singer Leo Crandall is a dead center cross between Jim Morrison and Tom Waits, and he and the band are a hardscrabble roots/rock/blues outfit crammed to the eyeballs with testosterone and chutzpah. Thus their sobriquet, Yiddish for "Big Shots", lays well upon broad shoulders.
They can tango with the apache boys from Paris (Effamira's Tango) but are gloriously boozy around the edges and that honkin' 'cordine in there, supplied by sessioneer Mark Nanni, doesn't even try to put the upper crust back on 'em, being a tad swayzy itself, making for a great ramble in the back alley. Baby Get Over It girds up the power chord factor, blazing into a ZZ Top-ish grunt 'n wallow session, Curtis Waterman's harp sassy as shit, never reaching into the suasions of, say, Lee Oskar territory, more content to lurk in the twilight with the werewolves.
Of course, the gents aren't above a ballad or two, but as And Your Devil is Comin' lays out its case, we find the affair to be a gutter ballet in emotional downsides pointing up the stripped nature of the CD. As inferred, a good deal of Waits' musique noir sits heavily among the 'Machers, so much so that John the Revelator, could easily have appeared on the eclectically killer Yellow Dog label, blending bayou, folk, and gator stomp. The Crushing Gift will never appear on mainstream airwaves—that kind of superior taste died in the 70s—but it just might make it onto public stations if it can wade through the welter of crap dominating the majority of those venues. In the meantime, grab it for yourself, 'cause you'll be old and gray before any segment of the radio world ever hips up again and you'll never know what you missed.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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