why, why, why?

Absolutely Raw (SB Productions)
David LaDuke

By Bob Bahr

For most music fans in the Louisville area, David LaDuke's name brings out giggles. Everybody seems to have a funny story about the hard rock guitarist/singer, or at the very least, they get a laugh from his bombastic advertising copy. Who hasn't seen the notices for "Ball Bustin Guitar Rock," and Have Rock Will Travel?

On his latest recording Absolutely Raw (another instantly classic album title), all the damning weaknesses return: the incredibly poor production, the weak musicianship, the metal histrionics. The only surprise here is the subversive appeal of the amateurism, an infectious garage band giddiness that is more typical of a lot of hardcore punk acts. The keen ears of the guys in Hopscotch Army clued in to this aspect of LaDuke when they covered his song "Right from Wrong" on Slamdek Records' 1991 Merry Christmas covers compilation.

This thread will get you through Absolutely Raw with your ears intact and your humor enhanced slightly. The only stumbling block will be LaDuke's utterly worthless cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." I've probably heard worse covers of this shopworn rock standard...well, maybe not.

While LaDuke's purported bread and butter is his blues-based rock guitar work, the man's voice is more intriguing. It's the sound of a frustrated man screaming vainly, in near despair, over the din of life. The words he shouts are sometimes human and touching, defying conventional hard rock machismo. Is there perhaps a better outlet for LaDuke the artist? We can safely eliminate music as a realistic option.