On 1974's "Sweet Home Alabama," Lynyrd Skynyrd claimed that a southern man don't need Neil Young around anyhow. Not to disparage Florida's southern-fried-rock archetypes, but plenty of southern men have needed them some Neil Young -- and the Birmingham, Alabama trio led by Taylor Hollingsworth is among them. This boy's garage (rock) is padded with swatches nicked from Young, Crazy Horse's triumphant '70s run (distilled through J. Mascis' slack), the Stones at their most greasy snarl, the Replacements at their most scraggy, and the nasal shimmy of the Heartbreakers, whether Johnny Thunders or Tom Petty.
When it comes to smoky R&B, Birmingham doesn't have the cachet of Muscle Shoals or Memphis. Hollingsworth, however, has done his damnedest to counter this by tacking some strutting horn arrangements (as well as pedal steel and keys) onto Tragic City, his third release (including material recorded as Taylor & the Puffs). Like a porcupine in pinstripes, Hollingsworth cuts a scrappy swath through his willful zigzag.