June 2021

Alligator Jackson

Southern Barbecue


Lost southern rockers Alligator Jackson recorded in the late noughties but never played a show. This 12-track epitaph captures the trio blending down-home rock‘n’roll with country manners in spirited

Nuthin’ Fancy style. 7/10



Southern Barbeque Review

The review was written in German.  Here is a translation to English

"Southern Rock's best kept secret!" This is the announcement on the homepage of the label Juke Joint500 about Alligator Jackson. A quartet from Huntington, West Virginia, which was more project than band. The present recordings were made between 2005 and 2009 and were - as befits a band - recorded on tape in the south of the USA, at the East Craft Studios in Vass, North Carolina. A tour was planned, but it never happened and they never gave a single concert. 


Why some of these studio recordings now appear as vinyl and CD compilations after more than ten years becomes clear quite quickly. Because already the first song on the A-side "Liquid Courage" is an absolute burner and trendsetting for the whole album. The Twin Guitars clang and howl in stereo mix, tangible rhythms, a Southern Rock voice of the first order, supported by soulful chorus girls. "Swamp Justice" starts with voodoo wise percussion, goes down a gear in tempo but not in passionate performance and the short crisp guitar solos literally burn out of the speakers. The title song tells us what a southern musical barbeque is all about: electric guitars in heavy rock'n'roll mode, hard drum beats, howling slides, fiery melody and a creaky singer. "Enjoy The Ride" starts with completely overwound electric guitars, which quickly take the curve to a funky midtempo burner, a feast! The "Repo Man" continues the Heavy Southern Rock mode of the title track. "Pull No Punches" sounds like Hooker'n'Heat jamming with Lynyrd Skynyrd, yeah, that's what it's all about! With feverish hands we change the LP side, which spits out the next Southern happiness: "Blood On The Wall"! Again pure Skynyrd magic, also "Hanging Judge" is touched and inspired by that spirit. Risen neck hair and goose bumps! "Mr. Bouncer" reconciles acoustic with electric guitars, wonderful harmony voices and a melody through which a gentle breeze of southern wind blows, reminding us of "Melissa" by the Allman Brothers. Wonderful! On "All Hell's Breaking Loose" the Southern is fired by Blues Rock. The acoustic introduces the song "Alligator Jackson", it remains melodic, while the slide points towards a sunny blue sky. At the end the "Spirit Of The Wild" shuffles us towards the run-out groove, one last time the Alligator shows us his sharp teeth. The yellow-red, almost fire spitting album artwork becomes the mirror of these 12 killer tracks. 



Why the band does not exist anymore is a mystery. Maybe a success of this compilation will help to reunite the band or it could herald a Southern Rock Revival, for which JukeJoint500 could be the forerunner with its excellent LPs. If you have even a little interest in Southern Rock, there is no way around the releases of JukeJoint500 in the last months. This is where the real, true stuff is sold: "Mo Peaches", "Tennessee Champagne" and those very Alligator Jackson! You don't believe me? Then listen to this great stuff and you will be converted.



Southern Barbeque Review by Sounds of South

The new cd was reviewed by a German websi5e in German.  Here is the translation. 

Alligator Jackson - Southern Barbeque - The Best Of… - CD Review 

Since its inception, the Juke Joint 500 label has earned the attention it deserves in our magazine with great limited releases that make the collectors' hearts especially of our Southern Rock clientele beat faster. 

This time, managing director Reinhard Holstein dealt with a rather mysterious band that is still considered 'Southern Rock's best kept secret' to this day. What is meant is a troupe called Alligator Jackson, who had created five albums between 2005 and 2009, but never played together as a real band or performed live. 

Holstein picked the supposedly best tracks from these five works and prepared a delicious “Southern Barbeque” for us. For vinyl fans, the colored, hand-numbered edition of 500 copies applies again, CD lovers get a bonus snack on top of “Southern Soil” with the help of the well-known Gary Jeffries . 

The main actor behind Alligator Jackson is a certain David Williams, who, by the way, in addition to his musical ability, also has literary qualities, thanks to some books he wrote himself. 

For his music project, Williams hired Dave Scarboro as singer and guitarist, who also mixed and produced the songs. The rest of the quartet are RJ Gibson on bass and TJ Dawg on drums. 

Then I scoured my collection when it came to Alligator Jackson and was actually able to locate the disc “The Gator's Back” from 2006, which had not been heard for a long time. 

Holstein has done a good job of this work with the really strong "Liquid Courage" ( Skynyrd- pregnant opener, here also with female background vocals), "Repo Man" and "All Hell's Breaking Loose" (reminds a little of the Regulators ) ( all other tracks are not bad either). 

If you get used to Scarboro's not quite so spectacular, but definitely pleasant voice, you will discover certain similarities to Doug Gray ( Marshall Tucker Band ) or to the good Charlie Daniels . 

In addition to the team-friendly rhythm section, the spice of the Alligator Jackson basic menu is of course the great electric guitars, which appear omnipresent in all variations (fills, solos, slide, twins) (very often in the creaky Gary Rossington manner). 

Also in terms of melody and catchiness, the classically held compositions (with influences from Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet , Marshall Tucker Band, Atlanta Rhythm Section , 38 Special , Charlie Daniels, Doc Holliday , Outlaws ) leave nothing to be desired. 

You can lean back comfortably in the armchair at home and while listening is automatically encouraged to reflect on everything that was great and pleasant in the good old Southern Rock days. During the summer barbecue with a cool beer in hand, the music certainly fits even better. 

And how does it say so beautifully and correctly in the package insert: If Skynyrd had published this work between "Nuthin 'Fancy" and "Gimme Back My Bullets" - nobody would have noticed ... 

Get it, dear Southern Rock friends and collectors, definitely get it! 


Another Review of Southern Barbeque



Review is in German.  No translation was available.


Wenn Lynyrd Skynyrd dieses Album zwischen "Nuthin 'Fancy" und " Gimme Back My Bullets" veröffentlicht hätte, es wäre niemandem aufgefallen.« 

Na, da lehnt sich Reinhard Holstein und sein neues Label 'Juke Joint 500' ganz bescheiden aus dem nicht vorhandenen Cabrio-Fenster und gräbt nach dem "Louisiana Man" auf der Kompilation Mo' Peaches – Southern Rock That Time Forgot eine Zusammenfassung von drei verschollenen Alben zwischen 2006 und 2008 des Projektes Alligator Jackson aus, ergänzt um ein Stück von einer ebenfalls verschollenen 2009er-Kompilation. Interessanterweise sind alle vier Alben bei Streaminganbietern komplett abrufbar, während physische Tonträger nicht existent zu sein scheinen. Da es sich 'Juke Joint 500' zur Aufgabe gemacht hat, den Southern Rock der letzten 20 Jahre, der nie als Vinyl erschien, auf eben diesem schwarzen Gold wiederauferstehen zu lassen, ist nunmehr für den August dieses Jahres "The Best Of … Alligator Jackson – Southern Barbeque" angekündigt, allerdings nicht schwarz, sondern multikoloriert und einzeln nummeriert auf 500 Stück begrenzt. Die wenigen verbliebenen Presswerke halten dem derzeitigen Vinylboom nicht Stand und produzieren lange Lieferfristen. 

Für eilige Interessierte gibt es aber ab dem 28.05.21 auch eine Polycarbonatausgabe des Albums, welche dem Rezensenten bereits vorliegt und sich schlussendlich an der vollmundigen Eingangsaussage messen lassen muss. Dabei sei angemerkt, dass Lynyrd Skynyrd schon recht frühzeitig nach einer Band für die ganz großen Bühnen dieser Welt klangen, während Alligator Jackson bis heute nie eine selbige gesehen haben … und ganz nebenbei auch nie eine Band im eigentlichen Sinne waren. 

Hinter Alligator Jackson steckt ein gewisser David William, seines Zeichens Marketingstratege, Medienschaffender und Autor, der vor 17 Jahren beschloss, dass sein richtiger Name nicht zugkräftig genug sei. Darüber hinaus schrieb er auch Songs im Country/Southern Rock-Style und entdeckte 2005 auf einer Straße im Süden Ohios das Hinweisschild für einen Flohmarkt namens 'Alligator Jack’s', welches ihm nicht mehr aus dem Kopf ging. Das war einfach für den Stil seiner Musik so passend wie der berühmte Arsch auf den Eimer … und das Pseudonym Alligator Jack geboren. Nun fehlten noch die entsprechenden Musiker, um seine Ideen umsetzen zu können. Diese fanden sich in Person von Dave Scarboro (Gesang und Gitarre), Tommy Jones Dawg (Schlagzeug) und laut Biografie Nigel Cuff am Bass. Das Booklet wiederum spricht an dieser Stelle von einem RJ Gibson. Sei’s drum, es ging standesgemäß in die East Craft Studios in Vass, North Carolina und 2006 kam das Debüt "Swamp Justice" raus. Es folgten 2007 "Pull No Punches" und 2008 "Spirit Of The Wild", begleitet wurde das Ganze von dem Buch "The Legend Of Alligator Jackson", welches David William natürlich selbst verfasste. Darüber hinaus veranlasste er als Marketing- und Medienprofi, dass auch Alligator Jackson-Cartoons und ein markantes Logo Einzug hielten. 

Was allerdings gar nicht Einzug hielt, waren irgendwelche Bühnenauftritte. Eine Band dieses Namens gab es nie. Aber der Mythos Alligator Jackson geisterte durch diverse Internetradiosender und wurde so auch überregional bekannt, befeuert durch Projekte, die wohl heute als Podcast bezeichnet würden. 

Aber was genau bekommen wir denn nun zu hören? Der Opener "Liquid Courage" ist tatsächlich Southern Rock der Marke Lynyrd Skynyrd pur, einschließlich Orgel-Taste und weiblichem Background, deren Urheber*innen leider verschwiegen werden. "Swamp Justice" klingt wie der Titel es suggeriert, gefällt mit einer schönen Percussion-Begleitung, genretypischer Gitarrenarbeit und Slide-Klängen. "Southern Barbeque" ist programmatisch, lässt die Saiten aufheulen und lädt zum kleinen Rock’n’Roll-Tänzchen am Grill ein. "Enjoy The Ride" ist eine geradezu freche Skynyrd-Blaupause mit JJ Cale-Genen. 
Der "Repo Man" haut dann klassische Riffs raus, begleitet von archetypischer Saiten-Solistenarbeit, während "Pull No Punches" den Boogie auspackt. "Blood On The Wall" bedient die Kategorie Southern-Hymne, "Hanging Judge" stolpert als Country-Rock mit flüssiger Lead-Gitarre durch die Prärie und "Mr. Bouncer" beschwört den Stolz des Südens. 
Jemand Bock auf ein weiteres Tänzchen am flammenden Grill? "Hell’s Breaking Loose" geht in die Beine und ist gleichzeitig eine Art Fortsetzung von "Enjoy The Ride". Der Song zum Projekt entpuppt sich als heimliches Highlight, wird hier doch wunderbar die Atmosphäre transportiert, welche insgesamt durch alle beschriebenen Maßnahmen heraufbeschworen wurde. "Spirit Of The Wild" fungiert dann als fröhlicher Lagerfeuer-Schunkler, bis uns schließlich "Southern Soul" mit dem Gast Gary Jeffries (Alligator Stew – wie passend) nach Hause schickt, irgendwann ist halt sämtliches Grillgut verputzt. 

Fazit: Ein handwerklich und atmosphärisch wunderbares Genre-Werk, welchem aber anzumerken ist, dass ihr Urheber als Hobby-Musiker gewisse Schablonen hinzuzog, um seine Vorstellungen umsetzen zu können. Einige Stücke leiden an einem wenig professionellen Klang und es stellt sich schlussendlich die Frage, warum diese Ausgrabung nicht gleich als Doppel-LP konzipiert wurde. Wer nämlich den Streamingdiensten ein Ohr leihen möchte wird feststellen, dass es sich gelohnt hätte, möglichst alle drei Einzelalben komplett zusammenzufassen. 

Auf Augenhöhe mit Lynyrd Skynyrd? David William wird schmunzelnd seinen Ellenbogen aus dem nicht vorhandenen Cabrio-Fenster strecken



Southern Barbeque: The Best of Alligator Jackson" is on JukeJoint 500 Records.  It is available on CD and will be available on colored vinyl in August.


Writer David Williams describes the inspiration behind each song.

Liquid Courage - We all know that guy who is the meekest guy in the world but give that little pussycat a few shots of whiskey and siddenly he is a tiger on the prowl.  I think we have all scraped that guy off a few barroom floors and walls.


Swamp Justice - I started this song and my great buddy in Australia John Westwood helped me finish it.  He passed a couple of years ago.  It is about vigilantism -something we could use a lot of right now.  An eye for an eye.  You wrong someone and someone comes to pay you a little visit.


Southern Barbeque - This was a good ol' fashioned celebration of the 'new southern rock' coming out a decade ago by guys like Gary Jeffries.  I took a good ol' AC/DC riff and crossbred it with some Skynyrd.


Enjoy The Ride -  I wanted to hear some nasty ol' slide guitar and Dave Scarboro gave it to me.  I wrote this as kind of a riffy Train Train.  Dave seemed to be on the same page as me....he smoked it.


Repo Man - My buddy John Moore was a manager of a Rent A Center.  We called him Repo Man.  We wrote this little ditty around a campfire on a white water rafting southern can you get?  Yep, there was a little beer involved.



Pull No Punches - You can't make a southern rock cd and not pay tribute to ZZ Top.  We took the classic ZZ Top sound and put it to a wholesome story of drinking and fighting.

Blood On The Wall -This is a song ablut human nature.  Sometimes no matter what we have we aren't happy.  I was in a relationship that seemed to work until you looked under the surface.  It became a love is war type thing.  It ended before the song was even recorded.  Sometimes things look good, but it just doesn't feel right.


Hanging Judge - Dave Scarboro made this song with his swampy guitar  It is about being a hero and an outlaw at the same time.  I sent Dave the song.  He sent it back with a message.  "Looky what I did here."  That guitar just takes me away and I'm on a horse charging to the border with my hand on my gun.


Mr. Bouncer - We have all been there.  You are out with your lady and some bird dog keeps sniffing around.  Sometimes you have to put disrespectful people in their place but you shouldn't have to miss the band playing if you do.  A Marshall Tucker Band feel crept in here.


All Hell Is Breaking Loose - I'll never forget writing this one.  I was in a hotel with a girl that I was close to breaking up with.  It was a Days Inn in Huntington.  I heard her on the phone talking to some guy.  I kept saying to myself, they are flirting with disaster.  We went to bed and I got up and wrote this song hearing Molly Hatchet.  I sent it to Dave and he amped the riff.  15 years later and that guy has had the girl ever since.  They are married but I got the song.... I think I won.


Alligator Jackson. - This is gator as a vigilante.  Sometimes you just have to make things right.    I always thought Dave's vocals sounded like Charlie Daniels on this.


Spirit of The Wild. - A riff popped in my head.  It's the kind of song you are sitting listening to a band on a bar and soon as they hit a few notes into a song, it yanks you onto the dance floor.  Spirit of the Wild...we all know a girl loke this and she is our fanatsy."