Songs of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy soundtrack

Review score: 71%

Review Date: July 2013
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

Amazon UK: Buy CD / Amazon US: Buy CD | Buy MP3

Sons of Anarchy is one helluva great TV show. Been watching it from the start, and just love the quality of acting, writing and production values. It’s simply an awesome TV series, think Sopranos-style biker show and you’ll get the idea. Being an aficionado of the series I was thrilled to be given the official soundtrack album ‘Songs of Anarchy’ to check out.

Well, I gotta say, this turns out to be collection of cool sounding, countrified guitar based tunes from the first four seasons of the show (or first four series, as we say this side of the Atlantic). The standout things here are – quality and atmosphere! There are lots of covers, true, but the TV show makes great use of music as a backdrop for thrills and drama. So if you love the show then the soundtrack will put you in just right frame of nostalgic mind as you await the next series.

Some of my favourites tracks from Songs of Anarchy:

This Life

The TV series theme song opens this album, and it is simply amazing. Swaggering, swirling guitar licks you can sink into, hard edged lyrics detailing the life you chose. Gotta man up, gotta live this life out to the bitter end, gotta take pleasure when and where you can. There’s an easy comparison here between gritty cowboy images and modern bikers. It’s perfect for the show, and a great track in its own right.

Son of a Preacher Man

You heard me right! There is an awesome Katey Sagal version of Son of a Preacher Man here. And, being honest, I’d have to say that this version is miles better than the 1968 Dusty Springfield original, especially the backing music.

John the Revelator

Who’s that writin’? Come on, shout it back – John the Revelator! This is a cover of really, really old gospel shoutback song. It sounds very sweet and bluesy here, great background music to listen to whilst working. It’s very spiritual, very mild and repetitious, get’s me really chilled out. Beautiful guitar work too, but that can be said of nearly every track on Songs of Anarchy.

Hey, Hey, My My

The piano / vocal work here reminds me of slowed right down classy version of Ozzy’s ‘You can’t kill rock n roll’ crossed with some of Guns N Roses piano tunes. But of course this is a cover of a late seventies single by Neil Young. It’s very short, true, but thought provoking with it. I strongly urge you to playlist this track and check out the lyrics about rock music. The underlying question here is whether it is best to burn out or fade away. As I said, thought provoking.

Strange Fruit

I love the guitar work here, atmospheric, almost spooky even. Katey Sagal provides vocals on this wonderful cover of a Billie Holiday classic (from 1939 if I remember correctly). It’s a sad song about the tragedy of racism in the South a hundred years or more ago. If you listen to the song you can figure out for yourself what the lyric ‘strange fruit’ refers to. Sad indeed.

Conclusion

It’s a treat to hear Katey Sagal (Gemma from the show) on vocals on some of these tracks. Songs of Anarchy is a great album. I wouldn’t recommend it to those seeking dark music with metal crunching, because you are going to be disappointed. However if you loved the show and appreciate slower guitar music with a country/folk/rock theme (in that order, IMHO) then Song Of Anarchy contains some wonderful tracks. Not an album for the kids, but a good one for the more, ahem, mature guitar music appreciator and for SAMCRO fans everywhere.

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Track List (may vary)

  • This Life (Series Theme Song) - Curtis Stigers and The Forest Rangers
  • Son Of A Preacher Man - Katey Sagal and The Forest Rangers
  • Forever Young - Audra Mae and The Forest Rangers
  • John The Revelator - Curtis Stigers and The Forest Rangers
  • Fortunate Son - Lyle Workman and Bob Thiele
  • Slip Kid - Anvil featuring Franky Perez
  • Girl From The North Country - The Lions
  • Someday Never Comes - Billy Valentine and The Forest Rangers
  • Gimme Shelter - Paul Brady and The Forest Rangers
  • Bird On A Wire - Katey Sagal and The Forest Rangers
  • Hey Hey, My My - Battle me
  • What A Wonderful World - Alison Mosshart and The Forest Rangers
  • Los Tiempos Van Cambiando (aka The Times They Are A-Changin)
  • Strange Fruit - Katey Sagal and The Forest Rangers featuring Blake Mills
  • House Of The Rising Sun - Battleme and The Forest Rangers with Katey Sagal