CD Review of National Champions by Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team
Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team: National Champions
Recommended if you like
The Rolling Stones, The Faces, NRBQ
Label
Doublenaught
Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team:
National Champions

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

W
hen you name your band the Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team, you’re more or less laying it all on the line with no holds barred. Fortunately, Terry Anderson and company offer no allusions about from whence they come. Theirs is a back-to-the-basics motif firmly rooted in the old school sounds of the mid-to-late ‘60s and early ‘70s, bolstered by such badasses as the Stones, the Faces and illicit offspring like the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and NRBQ. Indeed, their cocky swagger and devil-may-care attitude summon up the best of Rock’s immortals by doing their forebears proud.

Anderson himself has something of a minor history, although in the strictest terms it would be considered more of a footnote. Weaned in the fertile North Carolina music scene and having worked with bands like the Woods and the Knobs whose presence on the national landscape went all but unnoticed, Anderson expanded his reach by hoisting himself from his drum stool and offering his songs to a few fellow travelers. The results paid off, albeit narrowly, when the Georgia Satellites tapped his rowdy rave-up "Battleship Chains" and made it a mainstay of their set. The Satellites’ leader, Dan Baird, extended the association by appropriating another Anderson composition, "I Love You Period," for his solo debut. Anderson himself stepped out on his own in the early ‘90s, cutting three relatively obscure solo albums up through the new millennium (You Don't Like Me, What Else Can Go Right and I'll Drink to That) until he eventually opted to transfer his talents back to the band format with his present bunch of rowdy rockers.

Consequently, the group’s second studio outing offers few surprises, and if anything, the influences are even more obvious. The no-frills brand of bluster that marks "Goin’ or Comin’" brings those Exile-era Stones influences to the fore, while the cleverly titled "You Had Me at Get Lost" is pure mid-period Faces. So too, "Lost Your Number" offers a forlorn wail that sounds like Keef or Woody taking a rare moment to sing in the spotlight. A pair of "message" songs – the overly infectious "Willie Mays," sung in homage to the achievements of its namesake, and "Pow’ful ‘Merka," a patriotic parody of sorts – offer rare moments of profundity. Otherwise, the only variation in tone – aside from a detour into pure pop realms via "About You," and "Wrong for That," a rare bit of balladry sung in a high-pitched soulful sway – is that which falls between a rant and a wail, all straight-on and unapologetic.

While most bands tend to offer their wares at odd angles, replete with studio trickery and skewered attitudes, Anderson’s intentions leave little room for second guessing. Clearly, the Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team is ready to tackle the big time.

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