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This is pure, adrenaline-drenched rockabilly, sure to get your heart thumping and your feet jumping.

Music Review: Reverend Horton Heat – ‘Rev’

Everything about Reverend Horton Heat’s new CD, Rev, should get your heart pumping and your feet jumping. Even the cover art is pure rockabilly greatness and the songs inside live up to its promise.

It’s been over four years since Reverend Horton Heat’s last CD, Laughin’ and Cryin‘, which ventured into more country and roots territory. and less rock.  I’ve enjoyed the Reverend and company in every type of style but when the group does rockabilly, that is when many fans are happiest. We just want to hear them jam and listen to Jim Heath sing his heart out. Absolutely nobody does that driving, adrenaline-drenched sound better than this group.

revhortonheatThe themes here are familiar: fast cars, fast women, food, rock and roll, and insanity among them.

The first two songs, “Victory Lap” and “Smell of Gasoline,” set the romping, stomping theme for the album, and “Spooky Boots’ is a love story with a twist. “Schizoid” embraces mental illness in the Reverend’s inimitable style and “Let Me Teach You How to Eat” celebrates food but suggests a great deal more as well.

“Longest Gonest Man” is a swing to the more country side of rockabilly for a song about leaving a bad relationship behind. “Hardscrabble Woman” captures a tough character in a song that sounds like it was written for performing at late night bar shows.

My favorite track on the album is “Zombie Dumb,” a pure surf instrumental with minimal lyrics (“Zombie Dumb!”) thrown in. It’s like a trip to the drive-in for a late night B movie.

The other songs on the CD, “My Hat,” “Mad, Mad Heart,” “Never Gonna Stop It,” “Scenery Going By” and “Chasing Rainbows” keep the momentum going and create a coherent and exciting wall of sound for the listener.

The three musicians in Reverend Horton Heat (guitarist and vocalist Jim Heath, bassist Jimbo Wallace and drummer Scott Churilla) have been playing together for over 20 years. The Texas trio is tight and still sounds like it is loving every moment of what it does. This CD does a terrific job of capturing the true sound of the group and is the next best thing to seeing their live show. It was well worth the four-year wait and is highly recommended to longtime fans and the rare rockabilly fan who is not already familiar with the band.

About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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