Friday, December 18, 2009


I was surprised by how much I love the new album by The Reverend Horton Heat, Laughin' & Cryin' with the Reverend Horton Heat. I am a huge fan of The Rev, and have been ever since my friend Ashmi took me to a show at Tramps back in 1994. I was blown away by the good reverend, and have been every time I've seen him since.

The albums haven't always been as good as the shows.  It's never that they are bad, it's just that they don't match the awesomeness of their first two, 1990's Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em and 1993's The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of The Reverend Horton Heat. This new album is the first time I've felt a new record holds up to those first two.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Rev, he's what they call "psychobilly." A mix of punk rock energy and rockabilly and country music.  It's music played with incredible skill on a very simple set up (fat electric guitar, upright bass, minimal drum kit). It's funny, but not a joke (and defiinitely not a novelty). This album has all of the best elements of the band. Great playing, it kicks ass and is funny. The lyrics might be The Rev's best ever (I realize it is confusing - I refer to both the fan, and the frontman [Jim Heath aka The Reverend Horton Heat] as "The Rev").

"Rural Point of View" takes aim at NPR-listening to, Whole-Foods-shopping-at blue staters, with lines like "you don't need a gun if you can call 911 and the cops are at your door in just a few" and "they want to take away my pick-up truck, but a small electric car would just get stuck, it won't haul a load of hay more than half a mile away, through the weeds and through the mud and through the muck." It just gives you something to think about without getting all Sarah Palin about it. It's funny the way he expresses his perspective. And there's lots of other funny songs, like "Ain't No Saguoro In Texas," "Death Metal Guys" and "Please Don't Take Baby To The Liquor Store," but the are funny like country songs, the best and most timeless ones. If you stopped buying The Rev's records a while ago (they all have a least a few good ones) pick this one up. And if you've never checked thier music out, this is as good a place to start as the early albums, and how many bands with a twenty year career can you say that about? (and thank you Ashmi, for taking me to my first Rev show).

Other Best of '09 albums: Bob Dylan's Together Through Life , The Cocktail Slippers' Saint Valentine's Day Massacre , Rancid's Let The Dominoes Fall, N.A.S.A.'s Spirit Of Apollo , Levon Helm's Electric Dirt , Buddy & Julie Miller's Written In Chalk, Ben Harper & Relentless7's White Lies For Dark Times, The Dead Weather's Horehound Muse's The Resistance.

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