Most people will kown the Radio Rats as those ous who brought us the brilliant ‘ZX Dan’ and yes, they gave us that classic, but not many would realise that the band has been particularly prolific and still seem to be churning out new material years after that 1979 classic.
One of the songs they have recorded more recently (1995) was a little ditty called ‘Free State Rain’ which appeared on their album ‘Third Street’. Although ‘ZX Dan’ dealt with aliens and was somewhat akin to Bowie’s ‘Starman’, The Rats have always had a streak of the local in their song writing. Apart from ‘Free State Rain’ other song titles such as ‘East Rand Town Called Springs’, ‘Obz Café Blues’ and ‘Valkenburg Shuffle’ are examples of this.
‘Free State Rain’ is sometimes a term used to describe a dust storm and that seems to be what Johnathan Handley and the boys seem to be getting at on this laid back gem. This song is a relaxed affair. Dave Davies slightly creepy, yet somehow enchanting vocals are something like the Addams Family, weird and macarbe yet somehow you can’t help loving them. The music is desert music, you know the type that seems to encapture wide open spaces. ‘Free State Rain’ does this in a gently lilting manner that wraps itself around you and worms its way into your soul, warming you up. It engulfs you like a dust storm, but does not irritate, rather it soothes.
Where to find it:
Third Street – Radio Rats, Radium Wreckords (1995)