Clinton Heylin's frustrating but by turns fascinating punk history, Babylon's Burning gives ample, overdue credit to Jason & The Scorchers but lays bare the almost open-warfare between Jason Ringenberg's love of gut-bucket country and Warner Hodge's devotion to sleazy rock n' roll. So strong were their differences, that, according to Heylin, Ringenberg only convinced Hodges to do their career-defining version of Bob Dylan's "Absolutely Sweet Marie" by not telling him it was a cover!
Jason adds, "(Hodges) had some country influences because his dad and mom were country singers... He always said that country music was shoved down his throat and he hated it" but then anyone seeing them perform live or listening to their albums knows that Warner's no Chet Atkins (and that Jason's no Bon Scott). That unresolvable tension can result in either a blazing hybrid or a dog's breakfast. An example of the latter might be 1989's Thunder and Fire, where Jason's fine country songs are frequently run off the road by dull Big Rock guitars whizzing all over the place. When the twain actually meet and race off on songs like "Bible and a Gun" or the cover of Phil Och's "My Kingdom For a Car" it almost brings the album back home.
In this interview (done before the Lyon show) the tensions are laid gloriously bare as Warner talks up ZZ Top and AC/DC while Jason lays it on the line for Bob Dylan and The Ramones! Part two here.
(Can't say it works for me but other may not agree...)
This performance in Lyon, from the Thunder and Fire tour on which they opened for Dylan for a spell, shows them in all their two-guitar glory doing songs from their entire career and stopping to cover Merle Haggard ("Sing Me Back Home"), The Rolling Stones ("It's All Over Now") and John Denver ("Take Me Home Country Roads").