Charlie Pickett

Both as a music addict and "critic," I hear lots of music that slips into cult status and/or obscurity while less talented musicians reap the big rewards. Take South Floridian Charlie Pickett. Throughout the1980s, he was a road warrior of roots rock long before the term became common in America. He released four fine records (three LPs and one EP) during that stint and played memorable, genre-fusing shows all over the country before, in late 1988, "officially" giving up on his dream of hitting it big. He was convinced that he'd never be more than just a regional talent — but boy, was he wrong. Twenty years later, The Best of Charlie Pickett And — the and subbing for his combos' monikers, the Eggs and the MC3 — draws from his '80s discography for what is likely one of the best archival rock discs to be released this year. Bloodshot Records is giving his music new life and hopes to expand upon Pickett's cult following. A part of the reason Pickett was (and still is) so popular is because he draws upon classic rock — the Rolling Stones (up to '72), Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Flamin' Groovies, and the New York Dolls — along with proto-country-rockers the Flying Burrito Brothers and the raw electric blues of Howlin' Wolf and J.B. Hutto — for a passionate, hot 'n' sweaty amalgam that could be improved upon only by at least two beers and the knowledge that you don't need to wake up early the next day. What separates Pickett from many bands with similar approaches is conviction — his voice drips with real-world desperation while not taking his damned self too seriously. As for bonus material, Bar Band Americanus offers four previously unreleased live tracks that sizzle and give you new reason to believe in Pickett's music once again.

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