Over a decade ago when Saving Country Music was running down the top country albums of the aughts, the 2003 album Cockadoodledon’t from Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers released by Bloodshot Records came in at an enterprising #3. That’s how powerful, important, and timeless that title was.
Now frontman Col. JD Wilkes has partnered with Jello Biafra of Alternative Tentacles and Dead Kennedys fame to release a sequel 18 years in the making, and to mark the 25th Anniversary of the band called Cockadoodledeux.
To be unleashed on October 8th, JD Wilkes says the record will include the same spirit of the first installment, but perhaps not as much wild variety as the original, which included punk, blues, and a bunch of other influences. But with this one, JD says it’s gonna be country.
“Our older albums jump around all over the place, genre to genre, styles that are almost diametrically-opposed even,” Wilkes says. “But this record jumps only within country music itself. It’s a big-tent genre, really. It has all these little subgenres within it providing endless variety. From Western swing and rockabilly to spaghetti Western and bluegrass — and even Tex Mex.”
Yes, thank you JD. It’s perturbing when people say if something’s country, that inherently means its creatively hamstrung, or can’t have any variety. Screw all that. But no matter what influences the Shack Shakers draw from, it’s always wild. Jello Biafra years ago said JD Wilkes was quote, “The last great rock ’n’ roll frontman.” And if you’ve seen them live, you know this is no hyperbole.
Cockadoodledeux will also be a reunion of sorts. Along with featuring the band’s current lineup of guitarist Gary Siperko, bassist Fuller Condon, and drummer Preston Corn, the original 1990s lineup of the band also appears, along with former members that have gone on to make names for themselves such as multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs of BR549 and Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives, and bassist Morgan Jahnig of Old Crow Medicine Show.
There’s also a few other famous folks who contribute, including Sun Studios guitarist Stanley Walker, dobroist Jack Martin, and Cajun fiddler “Hillbilly” Bob Prather. And Jello Biafra also appears on the opening song, which is a new rendition of the old television classic “Rawhide” once tackled by The Dead Kennedy’s as well. But apparently, JD Wilkes choosing the song for the album was a complete coincidence.
“One would’ve assumed I’d known that too, as I chose it for Track #1 on our new album…on Jello’s record label! Nope. Turns out, I’m not that cool. Nonetheless [Jello] said he actually appreciates that I didn’t grow up listening to his band. Perhaps our gift for being charismatic frontmen comes less from rock, punk or any other ‘scene,’ and more from a place within. A source of pain perhaps…or a warped mind, in my case. Jello was happy to sing along on ‘Rawhide,’ and he never embarrassed me by telling me it’s one of his trademark tunes. I found out later, of course, and kicked myself. Still, it impressed me he kept it cool. Jello is probably the only rock star out there who isn’t some kinda jerk!”
You can hear the Legendary Shack Shakers version of “Rawhide” below, and pre-order Cockadoodledeaux.