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Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks
"Born To Be Wilder"
(Blind Pig Records)

Born To Be Wilder (recorded live at WorkPlay in Birmingham, Alabama) captures the full flavor of Nashville-based roots rocker Wilder's live performances: booming baritone vocal delivery, blazing guitar licks, and a punchy rhythm section, overlaid with a healthy dose of his quirky humor.

Wilder has been called "a kind of Tom Petty for the trailer set" (San Francisco Chronicle), though he describes his style thus: "We play both kinds of music, Rock AND Roll."

"Beneath a broad-brimmed hat and a pair of nerdy-looking specs stands one of the toughest roots rockers of any era. On this scorching live CD — originally part of a DVD set — Wilder loads up on fan favorites like "Human Cannonball," "One Taste of the Bait," and "Poolside." Born to Be Wilder also serves as an excellent intro to Wilder's vast catalog, which he's been steadily working at for more than two decades now. His distinctive baritone and deadpan stage patter guide the way, while the Beatnecks rock with the economy of an old-time country band. Smokin' leads last just long enough, and the three guitarists burn through the songs without any pileups. As Wilder says, "Make yourself at home, have a snow cone, and enjoy the show." - Cleveland Scene 


1. Tough It Out (sample)
2. Stay Out Of Automobiles 
3. Baby Please Don't Go (sample)
4. You Might Be Lonely For A Reason 
5. One Taste Of The Bait 
6. Human Cannonball (sample)
7. If You Were Looking For A Fool 
8. Sputnik 
9. Big Time (sample)
10. No Great Shakes (sample)
11. Miss Missy From Ol' Hong Kong 
12. Poolside 
13. How Long Can She Last 
14. Louisiana Hannah
15. I Just Had To Laugh (sample)

Remember Webb Wilder, Gibson Flying V, the last of the full-grown men, the guy whose credo is “Work hard. Rock hard. Sleep hard. Eat hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need ‘em.”? Well, if you forgot about Wilder for a minute, his new live album, Born to be Wilder, is all you need to remember that he is still a towering figure, both physically and musically, in the world of roots rock.

Recorded on August 19, 2005 at WorkPlay in Birmingham, Born to be Wilder features 15 songs selected from Wilder’s live concert DVD, Tough It Out!. He was backed by The Beatnecks: guitarists Tony Bowles and George Bradfute, bassist Tom Comet and drummer Jimmy Lester.

Wilder has often said that he and The Beatnecks “play both kinds of music, rock and roll.” On Born to be Wilder, they prove it with 56 minutes and 19 seconds of blood-tight, hard-hitting Southern rock. The band carries on a now-rare Southern rock tradition, the three-guitar attack. Can you say fat power chords? This trio of axe-slingers are so familiar with one another, their skillful interplay can be otherworldly.

The record includes material from all six of Wilder’s critically acclaimed studio albums, underscoring that he has consistently released high-quality rock & roll. And like the six studio albums, these recordings were produced by Wilder’s longtime creative partner, R.S. Field, who penned nine of the songs included here.

For a live album, the recording quality is impressive. It is easy to forget you are not listening to a studio recording. For years, fans had asked Wilder to release a live album, so when he and Field prepared for the filming and recording of the live concert DVD, they made sure the audio would be of the highest quality possible. Amazingly, because of advances in recording technologies, some of these recordings sound better than the original studio tracks. This is particularly true of “One Taste of the Bait,” “Poolside,” and “How Long Can She Last,” all of which appeared originally on Wilder’s 1986 debut, It Came From Nashville.

For the uninitiated, this is an excellent introduction to the Webb Wilder ouvre. For those familiar with his work, it is a chance to revisit some of the more memorable characters who have peopled the Wilder mythos, including “The Human Cannonball,” Miss Missy From Ol’ Hong Kong,” and “Louisiana Hannah.” For either, Born to be Wilder offers a strong selection of both kinds of music — the rock and the roll.

Daryl Sanders


Webb Wilder, "The Last Of The Full Grown Men," is large enough for the big screen, hip enough to star in cult classic B movies, and tough enough to maintain a devoted worldwide fan base through a relentless never ending tour schedule. It Is with great pride that Blind Pig Records introduces Born To Be Wilder . This rousing performance captures Webb and the Beatnecks doing numbers such as “The Human Cannonball” “Tough It Out”, “Miss Missy From Ol’ Hong Kong”, “Louisiana Hannah” and many others at their rock & roll best in front of an enthusiastic crowd of devoted followers. 

Hailing from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Webb Wilder and his boyhood friend Bobby "Crow" Field were just two among millions of America's idle youth conquered by the sounds, songs and threads of the British Invasion and by the freedom, emotion, and urgency of Soul Music. While attending college in Mississippi, they combined their affection for great bands like the Faces, the Band, the Rolling Stones, Mott The Hoople, NRBQ, The Who, and Badfinger with a growing interest in early blues, country and R&B.

After moving to Austin, Texas in 1976, where they played in separate bands (Wilder in the Eveready Brothers and Field in the Howlers), they were exposed to the music and manifestos of cool U.K. rock and rollers Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, who inspired them with songs and guitarchitecture. After moving to Nashville and putting the Beatnecks together in 1985, Wilder has without interruption continued to play the various styles of uneasy listening that got them noticed in the first place. Their six highly praised albums, It Came From Nashville, Hybrid Vigor, Doo Dad, Town & Country, Acres of Suede, and About Time, conjure up a sound that defies comparison to other contemporary rock 'n' roll bands. In concert, Wilder spikes the punch between songs with potent doses of rustic wit and character, transcendent mediations, incantations, and codes by which to live.

Webb Wilder is also an actor who appeared in director Peter Bogdonavich's The Thing Called Love, in the acclaimed underground classics Horror Hayride and the aforementioned Private Eye (collected in the video compilation, Webb Wilder's Corn Flicks), and in director Danny Boyd's cult favorite, Paradise Park. He's a "multi-media threat," as the Philadelphia Inquirer put it, and a guy who proves that "being off center can be very much on center."

Music critics have always warmed up to the Webb Wilder juggernaut. The Associated Press described the band's music and stage performance as "a glorious amalgamation of grunge chords, killer grooves, Screamin' Jay Hawkins theatrics, a healthy sense of humor, and great pop melodies." The band is "part Georgia Satellites, part Dave Edmonds, part Elvis Costello and altogether wonderful," beamed BILLBOARD. It's "full of wit and personality, and devoid of technological or conceptual gimmickry," added the HOUSTON POST.

To movie critics Webb Wilder the actor is "Fess Parker on thorazine," a "saturnine hybrid of James Brown and Jack Webb, whose cavernous deadpan intonations and crack timing make Corn Flicks a must." Of Corn Flicks, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE said "it's Twin Peaks with MTV thrown in the middle," while the LOS ANGELES TIMES described it as "a fertile field of free-form word play that reflects a literary underpinning."

But no one describes Webb quite as well as the man himself. He claims to be "the last of the full-grown men" and "the last of the boarding house people; a four eyed guy who doesn't smile a lot, but who doesn't frown much either; an outsider who feels as though he's on the wrong side of the tracks no matter where he's at; and a guy who knows every thrift shop and plate lunch joint in town." As for his band Webb says, "We play both kinds of music, Rock and Roll."

What pulsates from the speakers is only part of the Webb Wilder experience. "We don't just give people music," he says. "We give them some humor and entertainment. I've always liked that pre-rock time when everybody had to be a song and dance man. They all had to tell jokes and sing and do something else too. What I want to do is sing, play and entertain in a package that is noteworthy and special and sort of my own thing."

Short film about Webb Wilder Fest in Knoxville, Tennessee on November 18, 2006. 
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