Review Revue: Rank and File – Sundown

Rank and File - Sundown

I am learning so much today! For starters, I’ve found out about Rank and File, a band I was previously unaware of. They’re often described as a founding band of the country-punk hybrid cowpunk genre, but with my 2017 ears they sound more like “cow-new-wave” or “cow-’80s-college-rock” – but I see how that has a little bit less snap than “cowpunk.” Half of the band were previously in the definitely-punk band The Dils, so that might have colored the way people heard this group’s jangly, twangy (twangly?) sound at the time. Guess who one quarter of the band was? Alejandro Escovedo! Again, so much learning.

But here’s another thing I just learned about, thanks to some assiduous Wikipedia editor or other: Alan Thicke’s pre-Growing Pains talk show, Thicke of the Night. Why have you guys been keeping Thicke of the Night (and Rank and File [and, for that matter, The Dils]) from me? Wow! If this delightfully awkward interview between Thicke and the Rank and File boys doesn’t make you want to disappear down a Thicke of the Night rabbit hole, then you’re a stronger person than I am.

It seems everyone at KCMU loved this record – so much that they kept talking about it for over a year. So go find yourself an internet version and spend some time with it – once you’re done binge-watching Thicke of the Night, that is.

“Modernized Western music. Excellent harmonies.”

“Kind of rockabilly, too, but with new music overtones – try ‘Amanda Ruth‘”

“Great album.”

“I like it.”

“Me too.”

“A kick”

“Move to H please?”


“Yowza. Cool stuff. Why not H?”

“For once, Faith & I agree! It must be good.”

“Yowsa Human!”

“Precariously close to country. Where’s the hoedown?”

“‘The Conductor Wore Black‘ – ask him, he’ll tell you where the hoedown is.”

“Still smokes on 3/20/84!”


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One Comment

  1. Scott Bell
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I bought this CD when it first came out. As a former Texan, I loved the “cowpunk” moniker, which I recall came from Rolling Stone. This band was also my first exposure to Alejandro Escovedo. An amazing musician, through his many cycles.

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