Having now officially discarded the Bad Samaritans moniker due to confusion with a US band of the same name, Newport's Bad Sam release 'Newport Hotel', a twelve track affair that collects songs from previous underground releases, adds some intense new material, throws in a crazed alternate version of a track and still finds time to hide a secret track amongst the grime.
If you are familiar with the 'hilarious' take on the Alicia Keys track 'Empire State Of Mind' by a couple of clowns claiming to be from Newport that became an 'internet sensation' and travelled around office email accounts quicker than the latest soulless reality television gossip earlier this year, then you may well be familiar with the response from Goldie Lookin Chain which pointed out the flaws in the 'massive online hit' to the English people involved. What you might not know is that at around the same time a true song about the city was doing the rounds, a song both bittersweet and biting in its look at life in Newport. That song was 'I Love The 'Port' and the band Bad Sam.
While the song's chorus, infected with whoah-ohs, and the inclusion of Benji Webbe of Skindred as a guest vocalist may well hook the attention of non-believers, it is the attitude of the band that proves to be the glorious deal-maker, the reason that this release, this band, are essential. The barbed delivery of frontman Beddis (formerly of punk legends Cowboy Killers) may not provide the answers to the ills of modern society but it sure as Hell provides the argument. But these potent verbal bombs, as many a punk band has discovered to their dismay, fall unexploded unless housed around music that, like the acerbic lyrics, is ready to strip paint from the walls. Bad Sam have no fear in this area. While songs like the (now) classic 'Dicks With Dogs', 'Credit Crunch' and album opener (and title track) 'Newport Hotel' might offer something more in keeping with the traditional musical values of punk rock, some of the other songs featured on this album tear up the rule book and start again. Others will surely follow.
'Christ Betrayed', not satisifed with simply battering the listener lyrically, throws massive guitars into the mix, before 'Greed Pandemic' dwarfs even that with a monstrous riff that stirs memories of The Misfits at their heaviest and darkest. An alternate version of this incendiary track, rechristened 'Greedy Elvis', closes the album (swamp-fuelled blues assault on paedophilia hidden in the disc's murky depths as a secret track not withstanding) with an all new vocal line apparently provided by the King himself. 'Cliff' revolves around the wise words of an elderly patron of Newport and provides one of the rare moments of lyrical subtlety, as does 'Grovel', a more accessible track that proves that, unlike cartoon punks the world over, Beddis laces his angst with despair not identikit rebellion as sold in Hot Topic. 'Valium' though proves that the frontman shows little sign of going sane as he rages in a fashion not too dissimilar to the all-seeing ventriloquist dummy that the band have now adopted as their maniacal mascot. 'Teenage Misfits' and 'Gold Tops' round out the disc, with Glover's guitar on the latter being particularly vicious, that, although now wrapped in dummy-themed artwork (and with a John Sicolo, the legendary owner of TJ's, tribute included), chooses not to fully dispense with the photographic images of Newport that graced the covers of the free copies of the original Bad Samaritans discs that got handed around like bootleg copies of Rambo, with the timeless image of the expletive-afflicted car gracing the CD booklet.
'Newport Hotel' is limited to just 200 copies but is due to be released in 2011 on CD on the Boss Tuneage label, featuring two different tracks. 300 copies will also be released on vinyl, with 100 being on coloured vinyl. There will then be no excuse for not owning a copy of this essential release.