City Slang: “Sybil” revisited

Troy Gregory, formerly of the Witches, as well as bands like the Dirtbombs, Prong and Flotsam and Jetsam is performing at the Blowout as a solo artist at Baker’s Streetcar on Friday at 10.20. Therefore, continuing a theme from the past few weeks, now is a good time to revisit his 2002 solo debut Sybil.

It’s an interesting little beast (and it took some finding online), not least because Gregory took the unusual step of performing each track with a different Detroit band. Some of those bands are still around and, in three cases, also playing this year’s Blowout, while some of them have disappeared completely.

Of the former, there is the excellent and hard rocking “Leave the Ghosts at Home”, featuring the Sights, and “Regrets... I’ve Had a Few” with Outrageous Cherry, which grows on you like welcome fungus. “Born in a Haunted Barn” brings in Gregory’s future Dirtbombs band mates, and the chemistry is there for all to hear.

The opening song is perhaps the best though, with Gregory bringing in much-missed duo Bantam Rooster for “Lice Cots N’ Rabies Shots”. Matt “Cherry” Smith’s old band the Volebeats pop up on “Left My Mind Alone”, while it’s great to remember the Come Ons and a pre-Electric Six Wild Bunch.

It’s to Gregory’s eternal credit, however, that an album like this doesn’t sound like a patchwork quilt of a record. His super-cool delivery and awesome songwriting makes the whole thing meld together seamlessly. That’s why it’s worth another listen.

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