Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra: Road Gore (1985)

"Jerry Jerry wasn't a serious band at the time it started, either. It was what we called a "fuck band". It took four or five years before I considered myself to be a performer."
Jerry Jerry

At the height of Canada’s eighties stomping garage-rock revival, spearheaded by Og Records (see here), along swaggered this hard-drinking, testifier, Jerry Jerry, (born Jerry Woods) and his seven piece band, the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra.

"Canadian city boy thinks he's a hillbilly preacher sings late '60s Texas acid rock." is how Jerry Jerry's debut album Road Gore: The Band That Drank Too Much (1985) was once described. And that just scratches the surface. The tempos are speedy, the lyrics sarcastic and the band chops up elements of blues, country, gospel, rockabilly surf and punk rock to make a thick n' chunky stew. The resulting sound is roots-rockin' cow-punk a little like their Edmonton, Alberta brethren Jr. Gone Wild (and even a little like really early k.d. lang). However, there's not much R.E.M. style jangle in these boys spurs and you can bet your ass that Jerry would make short work out of Micheal Stipe should they ever meet.

In that spirit, here's Jerry's brilliant anti-socialism screed, "Bad Idea". While still-gelling Road Gore may not be Jerry's strongest album, this song stands as his greatest achievement - no wonder it's track one, side one of the whole It Came From Canada compilation series. The lyrics are both humorous and deadly-serious. Jerry uses a stinging guitar line as his soapbox to condemn the evils of Big Government (Alberta is Canada's Texas) while the whole band offers full choral support. Eventually Jerry's righteous fury builds to an explosive triple-time ending. (Studio version here)

A1     Gospel Surfer    
A2     Rhythm Crazy    
A3     Color TV    
A4     Baby's On Fire    
A5     Livin' On Top    
A6     Hell And Back    
A7     Daddy Was A Peacock    
B1     Happy Nun    
B2     Bad Idea    
B3     Rancher King    
B4     Dumb Love    
B5     You Make Me Blue    
B6     Judgement Date    
This MRML-exclusive "edition" of the hopelessly out-of-print Road Gore has two bonus tracks, "Radical Look" and "Yap Yap", culled from the It Came From Canada series.

MRML readers weigh in with a comment: What do you make of Jerry Jerry's Gospel-punk?



  1. Whew!
    Updating five-year old posts, takes a surprising amount of work.
    Please give us your thoughts on the uniquely Canadian phenomenon known as Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra.

  2. Thanks,
    In my opinion Jerry Jerry were one of two bands of that era that you could go see in a club and always be blown away (The other being The Enigmas). Neither of these bands managed to translate that energy onto vinyl, unfortunately, but they were still fun records.

    1. I'd put the Gruesomes atop that list of "bands whose records never captured their live energy". I can see how you'd have Enigmas and JJ on there too but I think those guys' records make a pretty good fist of capturing their live sound.

  3. Awesome. Glad you posted this. I've been putting together a 10 song sampler of the best of Jerry Jerry, so the timing is perfect!

    Truly one of the great forgotten bands. Both "Battle Hymn of the Apartment" and "Don't Mind If I Do" rank somewhere in my favorite albums of all time.

    1. Hey, if you finish that list please post it here - I'd like to see what makes the cut!

  4. Thanks! Going to have to dig into this. I was only familiar with the It Came From Canada Tracks, but when those comps. hit I went more into the My Dog Popper direction - now I'll have to swing back for the twang.

    1. "Swing back for the twang" is a great line - enjoy the tunes!

  5. Jeffen

    Ya know I luv JJ and SRO!It is good to have you back.I hope you have not been flooded out.


    1. Yeah I was in one of the flood zones, Albert Beach, last week but it wasn't a big deal there. Some areas have been hit pretty hard.
      Glad you're still out there, Doug.

  6. Thanks for your hard work! Looks interesting- if nothing else I can appall my Canadian friends!

    1. We Canadians can be pretty tough to appall :)

  7. never heard of them. the videos promise some real great stuff. thank you.

    1. Always glad when the research, like the videos, pays off in getting someone to check out something previously unheard.


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