New York City’s infamous band of punk rock blues-bashers are back to testify on their fourth studio album Street Sermons. With a wellspring of bottled-up feelings and emotions that need to be screamed and hollered, the band is taking their sound to the streets and preaching at a gin joint near you.
New York City’s most diabolical rhythm and blues street gang aren’t back, they never left. In dark times, DADDY LONG LEGS continue to shine their light everywhere they go, leaving a piece of themselves on stage every night because it’s in them and it’s got to come out. Now the sharp-dressed trio-turned-quartet make their post-pandemic return with Street Sermons. An album of the times, for the times, by a band of the people. Written and recorded against a backdrop of political tension, riots in the streets and a deeply uncertain future, these 12 new tracks are a testament to triumph over adversity.
In the first moments of Street Sermons, DADDY LONG LEGS beseech their troubled congregation to “Work with one another/Not against each other” as the Brooklyn band evolve into a chain gang that sounds like they’re emanating through the cracks of a hot and sticky subway station.
During the depths of the lockdown, frontman/harpman Brian Hurd experienced a terrifying dream and awoke in a cold sweat. To exorcise the terror he immediately scribbled down his memories of the dream that became the album's first single, “Nightmare,” a scream-worthy rocker about dealing with a world gone wrong: “We’re livin’ a nightmare and this world is condemned; I’ll see you if this nightmare ever ends.” Meanwhile, “Rockin’ My Boogie” lets the listener know that when it’s our time to go, DADDY LONG LEGS will be the band leading the funeral parade. “Harmonica Razor” is a dangerous rhythm and blues instrumental which shows off Hurd’s prowess on the instrument, and “Star” proves guitarist Murat Aktürk and drummer Josh Styles can cool things down and deliver a country blues ballad of the highest order when the time calls for it.
Other choice tracks include “Been A Fool Once,” a defiant boot-stomper standing at the crossroads between rhythm and blues and junk shop glam, and “You’ll Die Too,” a socially-conscious number that channels both Bo Diddley and MC5. The album has an extremely cinematic sound, especially evident on tracks like “Silver Satin” where the band takes the listener on a trip through New York City’s underground rail system with a bottle in hand concealed by a brown paper bag. One of the album’s most cathartic moments is found in “Two Dollar Holler.”
“Our first performances as a band were on street corners and at house parties in New York City, and the pandemic brought us back to where it all started,” Hurd explains. “The song's lyrics are all about the interplay that happens between the performer and passersby on the street. ‘In one hand and out the other/Can you spare a dime my brother,’ It’s all too real for us. We have lived this and this is the result.”
DADDY LONG LEGS fled the madness of the city to record Street Sermons at Old Soul Studios in Catskill, NY with Oakley Munson (Black Lips, The Nude Party) producing and stepping in on organ and piano. Expanding on their already heavy sound, Street Sermons features guests like punk rock legend Wreckless Eric providing backing vocals on “Nightmare” and “Silver Satin” and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian on “Ding-Ding Man.”
Over the last decade these gentlemen have burned down houses the world over with their explosive fire ceremony and have amassed a cult-like following all their own with a tough to beat reputation for being one of the finest live acts on the road today. Their stripped-back roots sound and in-your-face intensity has garnered them fans in their hometown and overseas, where they've toured with such kindred spirits as The Damned, The Sonics, Nikki Lane, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and even shared the stage with some of their heroes like the late Wilko Johnson.