On inspired nights, the Wags' good-time country blues and rags may make you want to holler in your pitcher of homebrew, drop your drawers on the barroom floor, and prance around like a sailor on shore leave in Prohibition-era San Francisco. Picking out melodies on an old-time National Tenor guitar, singer/songsmith Captain James Cook leads his band of merry rogues (playing upright bass, snare and cymbal, trumpet, piano, and spoons, as well as the occasional fiddle, trombone, or clarinet) through tuneful ribaldry about gettin' drunk, gettin' nekkid, and doin' what comes naturally. Their songs' scenarios range from the fairly pleasant ("Livin' the High Life") to the somewhat disastrous ("My Baby Left Me Hangin' "), but the Wags make even the low times seem like high times. Using lyrics slick with men's-magazine metaphors ("Pump that weasel"), the rascally Cap'n Cook bonds with the pub-happy boys and tries to woo the ladies with catchy choruses like, "I'm your hot rod baby/ Ain't got no parking brake/ Gonna roll right down the hill into your/ Chocolate cherry cake." Of course, Cook means to deliver these romantic overtures with his tongue firmly in his cheek -- but, thick from nightlong shots and beers, it just lolls on his chin. And that's a mess only the partyingest women would want to wag a Trojan at.
-- Sam Prestianni
The Wags perform on Friday, Dec. 18, at 10 p.m. at the Beach Chalet, 1000 Great Highway, S.F. Admission is free; call 386-8439.