Search - Rank & File :: Sundown

Rank & File
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock


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CD Details

All Artists: Rank & File
Title: Sundown
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Collector's Choice
Release Date: 5/10/2005
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Indie & Lo-Fi, New Wave & Post-Punk, Roots Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 617742052022, 0617742052022

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CD Reviews

You Need This
R. Smith | Viola, Iowa USA | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before the Americana/No Depression music came out, there was Rank And File. Back then it was known as Cowpunk (whatever that meant) as the Kinman Brothers, formerly leading the Punk band Dils, moved to Austin and recuited then unknown Alejandro Escovedo and Slim Evans and became Rank and File. On the album, side one had some heavy hitters such as Amanda Ruth (later covered by the Everly Brothers), Glad I'm Not In Love, and the band named Rank And File to which they throw in part of Ernest Tubb's Thanks a Lot to really throw a curve and The Conductor Wore Black to end things out on a classic note. On the title track Sundown, Tony Kinman's voice echos Johnny Cash, although on further listening, probaly inspired upcoming Nashville singer Josh Turner (probaly not but would it be amazing if Josh Turner had a copy of Sundown tucked there between the Randy Travis and Johnny Cash records in his collection), and thought the next three songs are pretty good, the album ends with the rocking Coyote. Soon afterwards Jason And the Scorchers would surface with their Fervor EP, which later Uncle Tupelo would later incoporate both styles into their No Depression leadoff, but Sundown was pioneering stuff, again falling into the too rock for country and too country for rock radio, which lead some lucky listeners to hear it on public radio (to which I heard the Rank And File song first and was knocked out and it took forever to find the album)

Sadly good things don't seem to last and Alejandro Escovedo left to form the equally just as good True Believers whose albums were reissued on Rykodisc and have fallen out of print but you can still get it fairly cheap but that's another story. Rhino Handmade paired Sundown and Long Gone Dead a limited edition called The Slash Years and copies went by fast. However rejoice in the fact that Collector's Choice has heard the calls and have reissued both Sundown and Long Gone Dead on seperate CDs.

Sooooo, if you want to hear one of the best albums of the 80s, better than anything that MTV ever promote, and if you want to hear the beginnings of Americana, you need Sundown. It's that simple."
Everybody's Trying Hard to Be Profound - Sundown's Too Cool
Peter Walenta | Long Island, New York USA | 11/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With nine songs clocking in at a whirl wind 31:15, Rank and File's 1982 debut record "Sundown" is hands down a great 1980's roots rock record in the same league as "Truth Decay", "How Will the Wolf Survive?" and "The Blasters", and it is undeniably one of the seminal precursors to the movement of the early 1990's. Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, the Waco Brothers, The Sadies and many others all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the original cow-punks, Rank and File. Every review here is dead on accurate about how good this record is. I could gush more superlatives about what a great country & roots rock record "Sundown" is, how it speaks to the plight of the downtrodden outsider, and about how tight and inspired a sound that brothers Chip and Tony Kinman, Slim Evans and a budding Alejandro Escovedo wrung out of their combo of guitars, bass and drums, but that has been done by music critics more famous than me. Superlative gushers include Robert Christgau who rated Sundown A- in his Consumer Guide column, the Los Angeles Times which hailed "Sundown" as "one of the strongest American debut records in a decade", and Jimmy Guterman who ranked "Sundown" at number 47 in the list of 100 records that he wrote about in his terrifically informative 1992 book, "The Best Rock `n' Roll Records of All Time". Believe them all, as "Sundown" is that good.

That "Sundown" was so long out of print is one of those unexplainable record company business decisions and just a doggone shame. Fortunately, for us, the nice folks at Collector's Choice Records (a subsidiary of Rhino) re-issued "Sundown" in 2005 without any bonus tracks...just with some interesting new liner notes by Chip Kinman and with improved sound (much better sounding than my old non-chromium dioxide cassette which disintegrated a long time ago). Chip Kinman's new notes are enlightening as he describes the process of connecting with his fellow band mates in a pre-internet era, and of getting the musical inspiration they needed to do it themselves as they listened to Merle Haggard sing while standing outside of New York City's Lone Star Cafe...too poor themselves to buy tickets to the show. I'm guessing that Chip and his fellow band mates eventually made some money in the music business perhaps not as Rank and File in the early 1980's, but that scene described by Kinman is a metaphor for what Rank and File's music was and is...outside mainstream country but deeply rooted in country's core traditions of simple honest playing and singing. In a larger sense it's also a metaphor for what stands for but I can now hear myself shuffling off into the fog of St. Mark's Place.... That `No Depression' magazine did not include this record in their list of Top 20 re-issues of 2005 is puzzling, but "Sundown" has proven the test of time and now it can be heard again in all of it's country-punk glory by hopefully a larger audience. For heaven's sake stop reading this semi-pretentious review and get this record you lover of Americana...and rock on! A rightly deserved five stars!"
The only punk(ish)/country album ever? Clearly the finest.
Chris bct | San Diego, CA USA | 01/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Man, can these guys write music. The two brothers from the DILS, one of L.A.'s original punk bands got together with A. Escovedo from that very musical family if I'm not mistaken. This first album is head and shoulders better than their second album much in the same way that TELEVISION's Marquee Moon debut album is that much better than their second one.

And what a gem this is. I kept trying to see if there was some reissue version of this album with some sorta extra trax, either live or from some 7". No luck. Just 9 songs like the vinyl lp. The closest we get is two separate listings of the apparently same album on which, well, didn't satisfy my music lust for obtaining more of this band's awesome songs. I have the album but I couldn't resist getting this CD.

I said for years that this album is too punk for country fans and too country for punk fans. After re-listening to it upon getting the CD (ok, ok, I'm busted, I rarely listen to my lps, least I finally bought a turn table after years of the vinyl just sitting around) I realized this isn't really punk. The only way it's punk is that the two brothers were formerly in a punk band. But it surely isn't straight country. I'm not sure how I can put my finger on it. All I know is, there's only one country act I like (of course, JOHNNY CASH) but if there were more bands that sounded like this I'd be all into them too.

The older I get the more it's clear that strong songwriting is a big deal, along with a fine voice. This band has it in spades. Really sing along songs. I just can't help myself. In fact, I'd put this album right in there with my other two most favorite albums where you basically can't help but sing along with almost every song: the MISFITS Walk Among Us and COCKNEY REJECTS Greatest Hits Vol. 1. I love music that sounds real American and RANK AND FILE totally captures that essense here. When John Doe and Excene do the KNITTERS getting their rootsy/country thang goin' it doesn't take me anywhere. This, this is perfection. Robust, stompin' really, and beautiful harmonies. Before I forget I gotta turn my dad onto this. He's 80. He loves good music but grew up with big band but turns out he loves NEIL YOUNG (ok, acoustic) and is real impressed with the honest presentation of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN.