Alabama 3

Alabama 3
Alabama 3

Alabama 3 playing at the London Astoria on 7 October 2007
Background information
Origin Brixton, London, England
Genres Acid house
Years active 1996–present
Labels One Little Indian
Geffen/MCA Records
Columbia/SME Records
Jake Black
Jonny Delafons
Zoe Devlin
Simon Edwards
Steve Finnerty
John Jennings
Orlando Harrison
Piers Marsh
Mark Sams
Rob Spragg

Alabama 3 are a British band mixing rock, dance, blues, country, and gospel styles, founded in Brixton, London, in 1995. In the United States, they are known as A3, allegedly to avoid any possible legal conflict with the country music band Alabama.[1] The group achieved international fame when the producers of hit TV series The Sopranos chose their track "Woke Up This Morning" for the show's opening credits.[1]

The band are particularly notable for their fusion of styles, lyrics full of ironic intent, their deliberately humorous personas, and their outrageous live performances. Every member of the group has an alias by which he is known, the band's founding members adopting the personas Larry Love (Rob Spragg) and The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love (Jake Black).



The band formed when Jake Black met Rob Spragg at an acid house party in Peckham and they decided that a fusion of country music with acid house was a musical possibility.[2] Other members of the band were accumulated over a lengthy period, but it is known that Rob Spragg was at university with Piers Marsh, the harmonica player and synth programmer for the band whilst Orlando Harrison, the group's current keyboardist, used to live with Jake Black.[2] Prior to the formation of the Alabama 3 Jake had gone through his "wilderness years" period of which there is little or no recorded output. This creative gulch lasted years following the demise of The Jangletties.

Starting their act under the alias the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (UK), the group eventually switched names to Alabama 3 and, after having been dismissed by the mainstream media as a novelty act, the group finally signed with One Little Indian Records in 1997 for the release of its debut album, Exile on Coldharbour Lane.[3]

In August 2007, the group toured under the name of Alabama 3: Acoustic and Unplugged, with Harpo Strangelove and Devlin Love to promote its new album M.O.R. (released 10 September 2007). Bassist John "Segs" Jennings apparently left the band, saying he is "busy elsewhere and [he doesn't] have the time." [4] Their sixth studio album album M.O.R includes a cover of Jerry Reed's 1970s hit "Amos Moses" and features The Proclaimers on the track "Sweet Joy" plus piano parts on the country stomp version of the Gil Scott Heron song "The Klan", written by Heron and Brian Jackson. In September and October 2007, the band toured the UK in support of M.O.R. with Irish band Republic Of Loose supporting.

On Friday 29 February 2008, Larry Love, Devlin Love and Mark Sams did an encore with Carbon/Silicon at the seventh and final Carbon Casino gig at the Inn on the Green, under the Westway. Mick Jones joined the group onstage to add guitar and backing vocals to a version of "Woke Up This Morning."

In late 2010/early 2011, programmer, harmonicist, and founding member Piers "Mountain of Love" Marsh left the band. Although no reason has yet been publicly given, his departure appears to be amicable, as he is still an active contributor to the band's Facebook page and is working on solo projects involving Zoe Devlin and L.B. Dope.


Larry Love of Alabama 3 on stage at Carbon Casino 7

The members of the band are:

  • Rob Spragg AKA Larry Love: vocals
  • Jake Black AKA The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love: vocals
  • Simon (The Dude) Edwards AKA Sir Eddie Real: percussion, vocals
  • Orlando Harrison AKA The Spirit: keyboards, keyboard bass, vocals
  • Mark Sams AKA Rock Freebase: guitar, bass guitar
  • Aurora Dawn: vocals
  • Piers Marsh AKA Mountain of Love: programming, keyboards, harmonica
  • Jonny Delafons AKA L. B. Dope: drums, percussion
  • Steve Finnerty AKA LOVEPIPE: production, guitar and vocals
  • Nick Reynolds AKA Harpo Strangelove: harmonica, percussion, vocals

Musical style

Alabama 3's sound is a blend of country, blues, and acid house. Their songs have sampled Jim Jones in "Mao Tse Tung Said" and Birmingham Six survivor Patrick Hill in "The Thrills Have Gone." Trouser Press reviewer Jason Reeher wrote that A3's "debut is brilliant and shambolic...owing huge debts to both Hank Williams and Happy Mondays."

Alabama 3's music in TV and film

  • A remixed version of "Woke Up This Morning" plays during the opening credits of the HBO television series The Sopranos.
  • A part of "M.I.A" by the band is played in the 2004 film The Football Factory as the Chelsea firm travel up to Liverpool for an away match.
  • A snippet of "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife" can be heard at the beginning of the first episode of the third season of The Sopranos as Tony Soprano walks down the drive way to get his morning newspaper.
  • "Mansion on the Hill" featured on the Kurt Russell/Kevin Costner film 3000 Miles to Graceland.
  • "Too Sick to Pray" plays on the radio in the film Gone in 60 Seconds.
  • "Peace in the Valley" is featured in the film A Life Less Ordinary.
  • A shortened alternate version of "Woke Up This Morning" can be heard for nearly 50 seconds in The Simpsons episode "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge", while Fat Tony and his gang are on the ride to the Simpsons' house. The sequence is a parody of the opening sequence of The Sopranos. "Woke Up This Morning" is also in the later Simpsons episode "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer", which guest-starred Sopranos regulars Michael Imperioli and Joe Pantoliano.
  • "Sister Rosetta" from Exile on Coldharbour Lane can be heard in the film Barnyard.
  • Rapper Nas sampled "Woke Up This Morning" for his 2001 hit "Got Ur Self A...."
  • Woke Up This Morning was also used in an episode of BBC series Top Gear, in which the team were driving through Alabama.
  • "Mao Tse Tung Said" features in the first episode of the second season of Torchwood.
  • The song "Ain't Goin' to Goa" is featured in the motion picture Definitely, Maybe.
  • The closing scene to first season Criminal Minds episode titled "Won't Get Fooled Again" (10/05/05) plays "The Night We Nearly Got Busted".
  • A snippet of "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" features in the film Some Voices.
  • The band are featured in the documentary We Dreamed America. The film, which explores the influence of American country music on British artists, features three songs by the band.
  • Episode four of the BBC Three series Being Human features "Too Sick to Pray" at its opening and "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife" at its end. The songs were omitted from the DVD release of the episode due to copyright issues.[citation needed]
  • Rob Spragg (as Rob Love) wrote and recorded the theme to Welsh TV series Y Pris.[5] He and John Hardy won the Best Original Music Soundtrack award at BAFTA Cymru 2008.[6]
  • "Mansion on the Hill" is used on the opening credits of 2009 mockumentory Good Arrows, written by Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh.
  • On the Region 4 DVD release of season one of the Sopranos, the music video to "Woke Up This Morning" is included as a special feature: it is incorrectly credited as being performed by "Alabama 5".
  • The song "The Night We Nearly Got Busted" got featured on the Soundtrack of the MMO Game All Points Bulletin.


Alabama 3 Discography


External links

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