Sally Timms Singles
Sally Timms EPs
(1987 on T.I.M.)Reviews
1. Waco Brothers with Jessica Biley, fiddle
2. The Handsome Family
3. Brendan Croker & Jon Langford guitars, Steve Goulding drums
4. The Baron bass, Harry steel drum, Jonboy ac. guitars
5. Brendan Croker & Jon Langford guitars, Tim Tylor bass, Steve Goulding drums
from New Jersey Online:
Sally Timms has to be the most unlikely country singer this side of, um, her pal Jon Langford, I guess.
Both are longtime members of The Mekons, one of the original punk bands that came out of England in the late '70s (along with the Clash, Buzzcocks, etc.). But a funny thing happened to Timms, Langford and the rest of the Mekons during a mid-'80s trip to Chicago.
They discovered country music. It wasn't the Eagles-influenced, radio-ready country rock that's been dominating Nashville for the past two decades. Instead, it was the raw honky-tonk of Hank Williams and Merle Haggard, as personified by the Sundowners, a legendary Chicago roadhouse band.
Things were never the same for the Mekons, who began morphing their sound to include country influences -- which really wasn't that far spiritually from their British beer hall-inspired punk -- and made the underrated late '80s greats Fear and Whiskey and The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll.
Today, Timms and Langford are both working solo country projects. Langford's a leader of the Waco Brothers, who just released their second album of "Cash-meets-Clash" hardcore country.
Timms, meanwhile, this month released her second solo record in the past three years. This one's called Cowboy Sally, and it features Langford -- along with fellow Mekon Steve Goulding, as well as Brendan Croker and Chicago cult heroes The Handsome Family -- backing her on four country classics and one Handsome Family original that doesn't sound out of place next to the others.
Timms isn't your typical country songbird. She's got an upper-class Brit accent and can sound very proper, with her perfect enunciation. But she clearly believes in the music, and the emotion comes through on a quietly twangy version of John Anderson's "Seminole Wind," and much-played classics like "Tennessee Waltz."
She turns it into a sweetly attractive romp, sounding like a frontier schoolmarm who loses her reserve and conjures up some passion with bittersweet memories. Singing the Handsome Family's "Drunk by Noon" -- the only new song on the album and one of the best -- she could be a Tennessee Williams character, a faded southern beauty who hides in a bottle but still hasn't lost all of her class.
Her singing is very feminine, yet the spirit behind it is always robust and passionate. That makes for a seriously sexy listen. My only regret about this album is that it's really an EP. The five songs come and go way too soon