Pushing The Salmanilla Envelope

Jimmie's Chicken Shack

Rocket Records, 1997


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


In 1997, a song called “High” by a Maryland-based band signed by Elton John to his label Rocket exploded onto alternative rock radio. The song was bouncy, fun, and heavy all at the same time. The band was Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, named after a favorite restaurant of Malcolm X’s. After seeing the video, I was hooked. I ended up picking up the record on cassette and fell in love with it. In fact, in the words of Al Green, I’m “still in love” with it!my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“High” is just one of many great songs here that still sound great. today The late ‘90s were glutted with an overabundance of alternative rock bands trying to earn that Nirvana money. But JCS was different. First, they were overly heavy with some great bass work by Che Colovita Lemon. His talents are best on display on “Hole,” a great song with the refrain “pull myself up from the hole I dig,” a line that has come in handy for this writer whenever life gets too tough.

The whole album is incredibly heavy, as evidenced on “When You Die, You’re Dead,” “Blood,” and one of my personal favorites “Outhouse.” The guitars, bass, drums, and the vocals of Jimi Haha all work so well together and sound so cohesive that one would think they’d been together over 20 years.

“This is Not Hell” is one of the longer songs here, but it works oh so well; it’s heavy, distorted, and full of lyrics that will leave you pondering and a great melody throughout. “Sitting With The Dog” is another song that sounds great and comes across well production wise, musically, and everything in between. Due to some bungling in the sequencing, it’s not the last song, but it has all the power of a great album closer.

All in all, this a very great album and it’s a damn shame that it didn’t sell on the same level as Third Eye Blind or 311, but that’s what being underground means. Still, it’s worthy of a listen 20 years later.

Rating: A

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