Bughouse 5 24 Hour Charlie

A Vancouver institution of some 15 years, the Bughouse 5 have built their West Coast reputation largely on raucous live performances and a crowd-pleasing mix of rockabilly, country and rhythm and blues (or "rock’n’roll,” as the kids are calling it nowadays). Led by singer Butch Murphy’s Joe Strummer-meets-Art Bergmann rasp (and with Blood Meridian’s Kevin Grant on bass), the Five rip out ten ragged tales of Van City living on 24 Hour Charlie, their fifth album. Going for the one-take, live-in-the-studio vibe is a risky move for the best of ’em but when it works it’s pretty damn good, as exemplified by fine country ballad "Black Eyed Dawn” and the Dylan ’66, Hammond organ-dominated "Poetry Girl” and "Not Too Late” (with Vancouver Canucks organist Mike Kenney on the keys). They may be nicotine-stained, caffeine-sick and a little frayed around the edges, perhaps, but they are none the worse for wear. (Northern Electric)