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The Jack Fords 

Bent Outta Shape

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Their name might refer to the former Toledo mayor or perhaps People magazine's "Sexiest News Anchor" in 1999. One thing is certain: The Jack Fords know how to bring it. They've built a solid following; their sound is a raw, rollicking blend of classic rock, '70s AM, and juicy roots music -- the kind of sound that gets lost in a studio.

The tack behind Bent Outta Shape, the group's debut, was "live, without a net." Clanking beer bottles and shouts for "Free Bird," recorded at the Town Fryer, lend intimacy to the recording.

Vocalist Brent Kirby sounds like Sammy Llanas (BoDeans), but the group is far gutsier for guitarist Bobby Latina's driving riffs. With Bill Crompton on bass and Dave Malensek on drums, they flirt with whip-smart power chords on tracks like "New Orleans," "Hotel Suicide," "Bent Outta Shape," and the sweaty "Such a Crime."

Like their live shows, this outstanding disc is one you shouldn't miss.

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More by Peter Chakerian

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