Wednesday , May 22 2024
Think Led Zeppelin meets the Call.

CD Review: 16 Horsepower – Hoarse

Don’t you just hate it when you find something interesting after it’s already gone?

Tell me if this has happened to you: You are looking through the newspaper and you read the obituary of someone and think, “Why could I have not learned about this person, and arranged a meeting, before he died?”

Such is the case with 16 Horsepower.

I’d heard the band’s name and knew they were being pigeon-holed in the No Depression category.

Their 1998 live album, Hoarse, was recently re-released on cd. The band is well known for putting on a great live show. Although this is not the best mixed live album it shows there is definitely some talent and quality songs here.

Unfortunately, the band broke up.

This album showcases their blistering bluesy style, especially the intensity of the vocalist and his lyrics.

It was no surprise to read, at the band’s Web page, that lead singer David Eugene Edwards’ earliest memories are of hearing his grandfather give fire and brimstone sermons.

So how do they sound?

Imagine the Doors meets Echo and the Bunnymen (where two of the members met) with an extra dose of guitar feedback. Or think Led Zeppelin meets The Call.

The most impressive song on the album is a cover of “Bad Moon Risin’,” which sounds better than the original version by John Fogerty.

Two other covers, Joy Division’s “Day of the Lords” and The Gun Club’s “Fire Spirit” are less impressive.

But if I had known the band sounded this good, this intense, I would have tried to see it before the breakup. The breakup, judging from interviews, was partially a result of the lead singers comments about religion not matching the opinions of other band members.

While 16 Horsepower is gone, Edwards is continuing on with a new band, Woven Hand.

I hope to hear Edwards play live sometime – to see his charismatic intensity up close.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep listening to this album regularly.

The tracks on the album are:
1. American Wheeze
2. Black Soul Chair
3. Bad Moon Risin’
4. Low Estate
5. For Heaven’s Sake
6. Black Lung
7. Horse Head
8. South Pennsylvania Waltz
9. Brimstone Rock
10. Fire Spirit
11. Day Of The Lords

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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