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Blag Dahlia (from the album Introducing Ralph Champagne
Blag Dahlia (from the album Introducing Ralph Champagne available on Greedy Media) (by Brian Rock)
Infamous punker Blag Dahlia, former frontman of The Dwarves, reinvents himself in Americana tones on his latest release, Introducing Ralph Champagne. Part Country crooner, part lecherous lounge lizard, Blag Dahlia’s alter ego, Ralph Champagne, delivers a surprisingly authentic Americana set. From Rockabilly to Western to 60’s girl group to 70’s Southern California to Salsa to Country Noir, Dahlia (Champagne) moves from genre to genre like a drunk ballerina stuck on a tilt-a-whirl. Although his musical tone may have softened, his acerbic wit and punk attitude still prevail. This album gets a NSFW warning and is definitely not suited for those who are easily offended; which is another way of saying it’s wickedly entertaining.
“It’s Over” finds Blag Dahlia in a surprisingly cheerful mood for a break-up song. Irresistible Rockabilly guitar and syncopated hand claps provide a deceptively raucous rhythm as Blag sings ‘I let the other woman carry me away. Now she’s gone forever and I’ll fast away. I’m still pretending that I feel ok, but it’s over’. Trying to drown his sorrows, he relates that ‘I got a little loaded. It got a little wild. Fighting with the police. Yeah, they just smiled. Then they molested my inner child. Yeah, it’s over’. Capturing classic 70’s Steeler’s Wheel rhythms with a touch of slide guitar, Blag Dahlia makes bitter breakups sound like cause for celebration.
Shifting gears, Dahlia conjures up some haunted trucker Country Noir on “Contraband”. With cinematic flair and suspense, he sings, ‘Fifteen grand for moving freight, there’s got to be a catch. He smiled just like a rattlesnake and, blowing out his match, he told me ‘Son, you’ll need your gun…’. “Summer Rain” also has a film soundtrack quality, but this time the scene is from an early sixties’ romantic comedy. Dahlia continues the good vibes with the Power Pop, girl group sounds of “Elementary Love Song”; a surprising tribute to bands like The Ronettes and The Crystals. “Nothing To Say,” is equally optimistic while combining Laurel Canyon and Mersey Beat rhythms to celebrate the joys of living free. But all good things must come to an end, so Dahlia breaks out his lyrical daggers on the Honky-Tonking “Your Girlfriend”. Starting harmlessly enough, he sings ‘if you and I had met some other way, I’m sure we’d get along just fine. Have a drink or have a smoke. Watch the game on Monday night’. But soon trouble begins to brew as ‘you took her from me. And she went out behind my back. I guess that makes us enemies. And I’m all right with that’. But rather than direct his anger at his rival, he unleashes his fury at his ex in no uncertain (but quite comical) terms. Moving from Honky-Tonk to fiddle heavy Western, Blag Dahlia defiantly declares his independence on “Don’t Tread On Me”. Returning to Rockabilly, he laments breakdowns in relationships, society and music; but with a sly twist of phrase, he has us laughing through our tears. There are other tales too ticklish to tell here, but you’ll just have to pay the price of admission and explore those on your own. Like its namesake, Introducing Ralph Champagne is effervescent, wry, and intoxicating. (by Brian Rock)
Listen and buy the music of Blag Dahlia from AMAZON
Please go to the Blag Dahlia website for more purchase and artist information
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