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Jack Oblivian ist eine der schillerndsten Figuren der neueren Garage-Rock & Roll Geschichte. Der Mann aus Memphis hat nicht nur bei den legendären Oblivians gespielt, sondern auch bei ähnlich genialen Bands wie den Compulsive Gamblers und den (US-) Cool Jerks. Stilistisch bewegt er sich im Spannungsfeld zwischen Garage R&R, Blues, Punk Rock, Country u. Hinterhof-Rhythm & Blues. Als Backing-Band fungieren diesmal die Sheiks, ein junges Memphis Garage Trio, das auch gleichzeitig Opener ist, und dabei auch eigene Songs spielen wird.
When you come to the Jack Oblivian party, you are going to expect some pawn shops, bad intentions and low-down sleaze and on Rat City, he delivers. From the feral existentialism of songs like “Rat City” and “Mass Confusion” to the unhinged love songs with underlying sweetness like “Girl on the Beach” to vignette-heavy songs like “Girl with the Bruises”, Jack disembowels American roots music and the resulting deconstructed songs are tied together with an undeniable groove that only a drummer could muster.
Among the originals are some well-picked covers, including a buzzing psyche version of “Moses and Me” by Tommy James and the Shondells, the Howlin’ Wolf-esque “Old Folks Boogie”, re-imagined as a Mississippi trash-blues worthy of T-Model Ford in his prime and “Lover Please!”, a hit for Clyde McPhatter that showcases the incredible guitar slinging of labelmate and collaborator John Paul Keith. Jack Oblivian produced Rat City and played a myriad of instruments on the sessions, at times playing everything.
Memphis based Jack Oblivian (aka Jack Yarber) was a founding member of the garage-bands The Compulsive Gamblers and The Oblivans but he has contributed to a dizzying array of projects over the years, including Andre Williams, Jack Oblivian & the Tennessee Tearjerkers, The Cool Jerks, '68 Comeback, King Louie & His Loose Diamonds, Greg Oblivian & the Tip Tops, Jack Oblivian & The Cigarillos, The Natural Kicks and Tav Falco's Panther Burns. Jack Yarber began his professional music career in high school, appearing alongside high school friend and future Squirrel Nut Zippers founder Jimbo Mathus in the Corinth, Mississippi-based Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves.
After moving to Memphis, he met Greg Cartwright and they formed the Compulsive Gamblers. The Oblivians formed in 1993 as a side project to the Compulsive Gamblers - the members of the Oblivians shared songwriting and each member supplied vocals, guitar work, and percussion on albums, switching instruments during live shows. The Oblivians lasted from 1993 until 1998, at which time Yarber and Cartwright left the band to reform the Compulsive Gamblers. The second incarnation of the Gamblers lasted from 1998 to 2003. Yarber played a role in the color themes of the White Stripes – after a Gamblers show in 1999, White (a Gamblers/Oblivians fan) explained his ideas for the red/white theme for his new band. Yarber recalled that “Greg and I were already aware of the band from their first 7”, so I offered to sell them my red National Airline guitar for $200. In 2008 when we re-formed, Jack gave me one of his red National Airlines to play on the Oblivians tour.” That tour (with the Gories reunited on the bill) sold out venues in the US and Europe. Post-Oblivians, Yarber formed the Tennessee Tearjerkers and recorded critically praised releases for Goner and Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum.