You should listen to the Ike Reilly Assassination, you really should. I’ll get you started; here is a link to download 10 FREE Ike Reilly songs form amazon.com.
A brief background on Reilly:
Over the course of the last 10 years Ike Reilly has released 6 albums and 3 eps. That is a pretty productive 10 years. Some musicians want you to listen to their music, others need you to listen to their music. Ike Reilly belongs to the latter group. Ike and his band don’t tour much because they can’t really afford to. The last album, the spectacular Hard Luck Stories, was funded, in part, by the fans. The album was funded by a loan from the bank and Ike’s now good friend Max. Then the music was released in the fall of 2009 digitally. The money from this, I assume, was funneled to help release a hard copy version of the album in late winter of 2010.
Reilly really tried hard to promote this album, not so much with touring but through the internet. He started doing a series of greatly entertaining podcasts and promotional videos through his website. He also started being accessible through facebook and doing live webcasts on stickam. It is hard to judge whether this promotion was a success or not but it really couldn’t have hurt.
I discovered Ike Reilly right before his second album, Sparkle In The Finish was released. My favorite band Cracker covered one of Reilly’s songs on their 2003 album Countrysides. I saw the the Ike Reilly Assassination listed in a local concert listing. The listing was in St. Joseph, Missouri, a place not a lot of bands comes to play. My brother and I went to the show not knowing really anything about Reilly and his band. The cracker album featured covers of work from Dwight Yoakam and Mearle Haggard, so I thought the Ike Reilly may well have a strong country influence. Not really true. Country influence? Yes. Country sound? No.
So let me set the scene; September 23, 2004 at The Bone in St. Joseph, MO. The Assassination comes out as a five man band, the crowd featured my brother and I, another table of three people and the sound guy. So essentially; five on stage, five in the crowd. On the plus side the special was $1 PBRs. The show was great, the band didn’t phone it in because of a small crowd and didn’t shorten the show either. It featured a heavy scattering of Reilly’s first two releases and a few covers. The covers I remember were; The Clampdown(Clash) From A Buick 6(Bob Dylan) and Dick In Dixie(Hank Williams III) He would return to the venue five months later to a much better reception, a crowd of about 40 people.
From that point, I was a devoted fan, buying every album and patiently watching concert listings. I would recommend picking up his third album Junkie Faithful if you would like to start with an album after the free sampler I posted a link to. Here is a brief summary of his recorded career.
I don’t have it and have never heard it. It is a release from the early ’90s that I have seen one copy of in the seven years I have been listening to Reilly. I don’t know how many copies exist but it is not a lot. It sold for around $55 on eBay, I was sniped but that is beside the point.
Salesman and Racists:
Reilly’s only major label release. Republic/Universal released the album in 2001 to critical praise, apparently it didn’t pay too many bills for Universal because Reilly was dropped. The album features many Reilly classics including: Commie Drives a Nova, My Wasted Friends, Last Time and Duty Free(the song Cracker covered)
Cars and Girls and Drinks and Songs EP:
Five song EP sold at shows around the time of Sparkle In The Finish. Featured four songs from the album including a different version of I Don’t Want What You Got Goin’ On and a EP only song Farewell To The Good Times Pt. 2(later released on a b-sides album.)
Sparkle In The Finish:
A bold rocking album and his first on Rock Ridge music which is still his label. Loaded with concert staples including I Don’t Want What You Got Goin’ On, Whatever Happened to the Girl In Me, The Boat Song and It’s All Right To Die.
In my opinion, Mr. Reilly’s best album. Not as much as a rocking album as Sparkle In The Finish but the songwriting got better and the album is stronger as a whole. Best Songs are God and Money, The Mixture, Kara Dean, Suffer For The Trust and I Will Let You Down.
Sparkle In The Finish; The B-Sides:
Features four unreleased songs that are really strong and would have fit well on the album they were intended for. It was the first of two digital EPs released by the band. The best song is by far Trainbomber.
The Last Demonstration EP:
Another digital EP; features 6 songs, four of which appear on the Junkie Faithful album. They repeat songs are dramatically different and worth listening to. They sound almost like demos or solo performances. Has great songs on it including the short and powerful Lust Song ’78 but the true gem is the version of Suffer For The Trust that ranks high among my favorite songs of all time.
We Belong To The Staggering Evening:
Great album of new material featuring two old songs that had been played live for years. I still remember the excitement of reading the email in the library while I was in college when it said that “The Work Song” might just be on the tracklist. The Work Song is “Fish Plant Uprising” and is one of Reilly’s standout songs of his career. The other older song is 8 More Days ‘Till The 4th of July. The song had a video on Reilly’s website of Reilly playing it solo electric with a lit sparkler in his guitar while he ripped through the song. Other great songs on the heavily front-loaded album are When Irish Eyes Are Burning, Valentine’s Day In Juarez and It’s Hard To Make Love to An American.
Poison The Hit Parade:
A B-Sides album is the best way to describe this one. Of course, artists like Reilly don’t really have B-Sides but the album features EP tracks and alternate versions of album cuts. The two new songs are the highlight; Poison The Hit Parade and Janie Doesn’t Lie. The album also features Duty Free with the alternate lyrics that were featured on the 2003 Cracker album, Countrysides.
Hard Luck Stories:
I spoke a little about Hard Luck Stories earlier in this post. It is a strong album and perhaps his most “accessible.” Reilly gives a nod back to his friends from Cracker for covering his song by letting them guest on this album. David Lowery sings on The Ballad Of Jack & Haley and Johnny Hickman gets to play guitar on Girls In The Backroom. The shining songs from this album are 7 Come 11, Good Work and the duet with Shooter Jennings The War On The Terror and the Drugs.
There you go, now LISTEN TO IKE REILLY.