The Subdudes “Primitive Streak”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#619 in the Series) is The Subdudes, Primitive Streak

I have to admit when I first purchased the CD of this album it stayed in my car’s player for a good long time, and back in 1996 I don’t think they had multi-disc players.  However, I am quite sure it was not because I was sick of it that it became a forgotten part of my collection until just recently.

When I did revisit, I was blue that I had missed it for so long. Luckily my spirits quickly lifted as I made my way through this thoughtful piece of music. It’s best described as New Orleans style roots music, with lots of accordion, steel guitar, good percussion and jamming strings.  The great thing about it is you feel like you are part of the party that is going on wherever this is playing. In fact, put it on at a party and I guarantee all the music fans in attendance will ask you who it is.  Unless of course, they already know, many sometimes do.

The writing is so original and it surprisingly starts out with what was closest thing to a hit, “All the Time in the World.” Yes, you’ll notice a sampling from rock standby “Wild Thing”. The sound is distinctive, and mostly lively. When they do slow it down, it is done in a relaxed bluesy way. I give you “Too Soon to Tell” featuring vocals and slide guitar from guest Bonnie Raitt as an example.

I have seen the music of this band labeled “swamp rock,” which I believe is somewhat of an insult. Sure, there are pieces of that swampy style in their sound, but overall it’s much more than that. You’ll find there isn’t just “alligator” in their melting pot of musical styles. The writing is mostly done by Tommy Malone, (the brother of The Radiator’s guitarist Dave Malone) and even if they use a tambourine instead of drums, there is no doubt that their  sound could appeal to rock, pop, and even jazz or blues fans.

There are many great songs on this release that are worth a listen, most of which I consider gems. The ones that stand out are “Sarita” and “Why Do You Hurt Me” the latter which will make anyone at that party jump up and dance.

Shortly after this release the band recorded a farewell live record and you might have the idea that it was fun while it lasted, and what a party it was. Primitive Streak stands the test of time because I have left it in my player, added it to my iPod and still don’t get tired of hearing those opening chords of the Troggs which starts the party that is this record one more time.

— John Driscoll, Chicago, Illinois, USA

 Track Listing

  1. All the Time in the World (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 4:35
  2. Carved in Stone (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 3:13
  3. Break Down in These Walls ( Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 3:28
  4. Why Do You Hurt Me So (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 3:05
  5. Faraway Girl (Allen, Amedee, Cook, Magnie, Malone) 3:43
  6. Love Somebody (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 5:13
  7. Lonely Soldier (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 4:19
  8. Too Soon to Tell (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 2:43
  9. Do Me a Favor (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 3:57
  10. She (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 3:30
  11. Don’t Let ‘Em (Allen, Amedee, Magnie, Malone) 3:44
  12. Sarita (Cook, Subdudes) 4:19
  13. Love O’ Love (Allen, Magnie) 3:36


  • Johnny Ray Allen – Bass
  • Steve Amedee  – Percussion, Tambourine, Vocals
  • Amy Baltzer – Violin
  • Nancy Buchan – Violin
  • Debra Dobkins – Percussion
  • Leigh Harris – Vocals
  • Clyde Kerr – Trumpet
  • Sharon Leger – Rubboard
  • John Magnie – Accordion, Keyboards, Vocals
  • Tommy Malone – Guitar, Vocals
  • Beth McKee – Vocals
  • Pat McLaughlin – Mandolin, Vocals
  • Allen Nisbet – Cello
  • Sean O’Neill – Violin
  • Bonnie Raitt – Guitar, Vocals
  • Ward Smith – Sax
  • Eric Traub – Sax
  • Matt Van Beison – Trumpet
  • Clark Vreeland – Guitar, Organ, Piano
  • Willie Williams – Guitar, Vocals


Back to the Cool Album Home Page

Listen to some studio and some live versions of Subdudes tunes from Primitive Streak

How ’bout checking out some more Cool “Americana” Albums!

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Posted by Larry Carta

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