Oh yeah, it's been a while ago, since Mr. Gideon Smith and his backing band THE DIXIE DAMNED have given any kind of lifesign. The first full length "Southern Gentlemen", that has been released by Small Stone Records some years ago, is still a timeless album with a sound that is influenced from traditional outlaw blues as well as from 50's rock 'n' roll, country rock and, of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd. But in opposite to other heavy bands which are also inspired by Skynyrd or Blackfoot, Gideon Smith isn't focused on brutal southern heaviness, but more on a traditional way to let out his tales about broken hearts, inner demons, spiritual awakenings and other outlaw experiences. Due to his roots, he had also done recordings in the legendary Sun Studios, where he payed tribute to his musical heroes. But shortly after the release of "Southern Gentlemen", life shows it darker side and suddenly drummer Boo Creepy, who was also a long-time friend of Gideon Smith, died. This was a hard shock for the band, and they needed some time for find a new drummer. "Dealin' Decks" is the result from this period of the band between 2001 - 2004, and after a very long search, finally the band had found the Italian label Scarey Records, that had done a great job in releasing this six-song tracker. I wonder, why Small Stone Records didn't release this EP, because the band is still on the SS roster.

Well, anyway, to talk about the music GIDEON SMITH & TDD have written six brilliant cuts, that are comparable with the album, but also showing another facette of the band's own interpretation of traditional southern death rock. Gideon Smith never needed to sound like Van Zandt, because he got his very own style, which ranges from early Elvis Presley to Lux Interior to Ian Astbury, but apart of all this name-dropping it's easy to hear that he's got a god-given talent and he's aware of this! Among the four additional musicians is also drummer Boo Creepy, who played conga on "Dionysus Child", a wonderful psychedelic ballad and Gideon Smith's vocals are absolutely on top. But the band also kicks some serious ass with "Disco Devil Forever, that reminds me to early Cramps or the hard rockin "Blood And Fire". Once again the group shows, that they have not much in common with bands like Five Horse Johnson, Dixie Witch, Alabama Thunderpussy etc. ('though all this are great bands!) and if you're looking for the next heavy southern badass riffage gang, than you should better listen to "Dealin' Decks" before buying it. But if you got a soft spot for good old rock 'n' roll, played in the most authentic way, and drenched in a warm soulful southern vibe, than I recommend this EP to you. I hope, that this release will open up new doors for Gid and his band as well as new listeners, too. And it will shorten the time until the release of the second album, which will hopefully see the light of day 2005 or 2006. "Dealin' Decks" should be interesting for a lot of people, and it's a living and powerful proof, that rock 'n' roll isn't dead!!! Fly on Freebird,.... fly on!!!