"The fact that only one of The Vulgar Boatmen's three classic albums is currently available demonstrates the shameful condition of the modern rock music scene. The Boatmen's style, melodic tuneful guitar rock augmented by violins, is most pleasing to the ears. What seperates them from the rest is the truly spectacular songwriting in which each song turns on an often unexpected hook. The best songs on "You and Your Sister," are the title track, "Katie," "Margaret Says," "Mary Jane," and "Drive Somewhere," the last one being the best six minute cruising song you'll ever hear.If you like this great album, search out the two subsequent records, "Please Panic" and "Opposite Sex." They are WELL worth the effort."
Simplistic and Beautiful American Music
Ray Ketchem | New York, New York | 02/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Vulgar Boatmen keep their songs so straight forward it almost seems like the songs have written themselves. Not an easy feat for most bands. Listen to this and their other CD "Please Panic" with the windows rolled down on any American highway and you will understand why these recordings are so perfect."
Velvets 3rd LP meets early REM at Buddy Holly's Danceteria
Jorge A. Cervera | Livingston, MONTANA USA (Wild n' Wooly) | 01/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hailing from both Gainesville, Florida AND Indianapolis, Indiana, the
two principal songwriters in the Vulgar Boatmen normally collaborated via the intrepid U.S. mail system,
sending each other 4-track tapes until a song was completed to mutual satisfaction.
Renowned University of Florida English & Film Studies professor/songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Robert Ray generally refused to tour so it was probably the Indiana
version of The Boatmen, led by Dale Lawrence, who you may have seen in your local Midwest bar during the 1980's and 90's. The band's spiritual home, however, remained in the hip, bustling college mecca of
Gainesville (POP:135,000) where the abashedly superior Florida version of the band
played dozens of infamous local gigs and sweaty house parties to a rabid following of college kids, fellow professors, and grungy punk-rockers,
all of whom sang along with every word and danced like crazed, drunken tops until the
very wee small hours of the morning.
This particular album marks their first non cassette-only release and is still a true unheralded, undiscovered gem.
"You and Your Sister" & "Cry Real Tears" are both wistful and super-hooky dance numbers
while "Fallen Down" has got to be the greatest hit single that never was. The Vulgar Boatmen's music is steeped in the paisley-fortified, alternative
"kudzu power-pop" scene that flourished in the Deep South during the 1980's. If you
are a fan of EARLY REM, the B-52's, Pylon, Fetchin' Bones, Let's Active, The Db's, The Producers or
even The Everly Brothers, this is for you although they do not really sound anything like those bands.
Cuban-born Walter Salas-Humara of the seminal "No Depression"
roots-rock group The Silos and famous Nashville & L.A. session bassist/producer J.D. Foster are some of the revolving cast of players that make up the ever-shifting roster of
The Vulgar Boatmen. The songs themselves frequently revolve around a few well-chosen chords that support lovely soaring harmonies. Concise arrangements are often framed by impossibly melodic, driving viola solos played by Helen Kirklin, Ray's wife and subject of the classic Silos song, "Pictures of Helen." Great, arching melodies, sublime lyrics, and rock-dance rhythms make for a truly unique listening experience. No less than the great Mr.Elvis Costello once stated that The Vulgar Boatmen were his favorite rock band. Too bad there aren't
more truly musical, visionary ROCK bands like this still around out there! I just happen to own this on CD, Lp and
cassette--I am still waiting for the VHS!"
Boatmen Began With Big Ideas
Jorge A. Cervera | 02/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
""You and Your Sister" was the first album by a promising group called the Vulgar Boatmen. They toured a lot in the late 80s and early 90s, and they released a follow-up record called "Please Panic" in 1992.But "You and Your Sister" probably marked their creative pinnacle. "Mary Jane" is a kickass opening song with the kind of driving rhythm that characterized so much of the Boatmen's best work. They used unusual rhythms--not Crazy Rhythms like the Feelies but oddly syncopated drumlines that kept you guessing and very conscious of the backbeat."Drive Somewhere" is the best song on the record, with a simple, clearly ringing guitar hook that could not be more wistful. But the best song on the record is "Katie," a slow, agonizing song whose refrain, "and I know," hangs in the air for hours after the song ends.The Vulgar Boatmen may well have stopped writing songs when they ran out of women's names to use as song titles. But "You and Your Sister" stands as a monument to Eighties alternative rock at its finest; it's a diamond in the rough that's worth checking out."
Chas | Planet Eartsnop | 12/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"remarkable that this was done in the 80's when the standard for pop pruduction was layered, artificial, mechanized and cheesy .. this has that recorded in your dining room sound so ahead of its time. Proof of the power of a simple approach means fun for the performer and the listener. The total antithesis of more pretensious and agonized genres of rock (prog, fusion, etc.) Long Live the Vulgar Boatmen!!
See also: The Feelies 1st REM album Freedy Johnston Ramones NRBQ Daddy Cool