Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reverend Organ Drum - Hi Fi Stereo (Yep Rock, 2008)

Short, sharp blasts of grinding R&B, jazz chestnuts, and movie themes are the order of the day for this band. Comprised of guitarist Jim Heath (Reverend Horton Heat), organist Tim Alexander and drummer Todd Soesbe, the group was originally designed to just be a side project, but it then took on a life of its own. Old school rhythm and blues is where the band makes its mark and has the most success. Ray Charles' classic "I Got a Woman" is taken at an intense and churning pace, while "Honky Tonk (Side A & B)" is fueled by a roadhouse guitar solo and "Can't Be Still" gives the drummer some, leaving Soesbe in space for an over the top solo. Jam session jazz standards "C Jam Blues" and "Night Train" work well, as does the unexpected addition of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "The Black and Crazy Blues." The only soft points on the disc occur when Heath steps up to the microphone to sing in a faux-hipster manner that quickly becomes tiresome. But this is only on a few tracks and is compensated for with the fun movie soundtrack covers "James Bond Theme" and the music from the atmospheric spaghetti western "Hang 'em High." This was a fun and enjoyable album, the group plays very well, but never takes themselves too seriously. The must be a hoot to hear live, and hopefully their next album will document their live performance.

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