Wednesday, July 31, 2013


The Best Of The Reverend Horton Heat

588 Miles To Go

If the great guitar player showdown ever does take place in a desert somewhere in Southern California or maybe on Austin's Sixth Street, keep your eyes peeled for Jim Heath.

Bo Diddley was a gunslinger and so is Heath's alter ego and band - The Reverend Horton Heat.

The Rev - a guitarist, singer, songwriter and sly lyrical comedian - will be sitting in the corner with his back to the wall. His hair will be slicked back, and he'll be wearing a shiny suit, coolly waiting for his turn to perform.

His trusty companion "Nature Boy" Jimbo Wallace will be by his side with their guitars and flaming stand-up bass at the ready.

When the time is right, The Rev will unholster his wiggle stick and scorch the hootenanny with the riffs, notes and chords he has created over the last quarter century.

The Reverend Horton Heat trappings are pure hot rod rockabilly, and their time on the Sub Pop label powers the punk rock cred. But, to pigeonhole him and the band as either misses the point.

There isn't a punk rock guitarist alive who's going to stare down The Rev with what was learned from the Ramones.

Brian Setzer merits slightly better odds, but the only thing he has on the Heat is greater commercial glory.

The Rev can play punk, rockabilly, surf, country, metal, fast, slow, smooth and rough. He's a "career artist" with more licks than an alley full of Stray Cats.

Just take a hit of instrumentals such as Marijuana, Big Sky and Psychobilly Freakout to catch the band's buzz. 

Born in Dallas' Deep Ellum district in 1985, The Reverend Horton Heat has been roaming the rock range with the regularity of an old bluesman, bringing its "drink beer, raise hell" revival to a variety of venues and watering holes all over the map.

To celebrate it's 25th anniversary, Yep Roc Records released a 25 To Life mini box set that includes The Best Of The Reverend Horton Heat compilation, a Live At The Fillmore CD, a Live At The Fillmore DVD concert film/career documentary and an extensive picture book retrospective.

The Best Of The Reverend Horton Heat compilation includes 22 songs spanning the group's entire career. There are seven songs from Sub Pop's Holy Roller set on this, but enthusiasts will find the total box set more than worth any title duplication.

Moreover, because of the widened window on the newest issue, listeners can see the band polishing its guns as the songs evolve from 1992 through 2004.

As for the great guitar duel in the sun, you can bet it will be martini time when The Rev hits the pulpit to save all the souls he's left lying in his wake.

Song For The Soundtrack: Loco Gringos Like A Party

Running Data For Sunday, June 9:
7.08 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.57 Miles

Monday, July 29, 2013


Live At Third Man Records

595 Miles To Go

The Killer remains among us and Jack White wants to make sure we know Jerry Lee Lewis still lives up to his murderous moniker.

On Live At Third Man Records, the then 75-year-old piano pounding legend (now 77) cracks the keys in a teenage tantrum. Age seems to slightly slur his singing, but the Sun Records spirit rages on the ivories with every note.

From start to finish, this party romps from rock's earliest era and Jerry Lee shows why the piano can be just as lethal as a guitar in the right hands. 

Lewis' band mates - guitarist Kenny Lovelace, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Jim Keltner - add appropriate sock hop happiness to each of the dozen songs, including Drinking Wine, Spo-dee-O-dee; Before The Night Is Over; and I Wish I Was 18 Again.

Live At Third Man Records makes you wish you were 18 when Jerry Lee was at the height of his superhero powers.

The hits are the expected highlights - Sweet Little Sixteen, Great Balls Of Fire, Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

"This is rock AND roll right here," Jerry Lee says of the closing shake.

And, you sir are still a killer. 

Song For The Soundtrack: Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Running Data For Friday, June 7:
3.86 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.49 Miles


Old Ideas

599 Miles To Go







All are almost as ancient as man himself and Leonard Cohen puts each up for audio analysis on 2012's Old Ideas, his 12th studio collection.

In the opening Going Home, he describes himself as "a sportsman and a shepherd/He's a lazy bastard/Living in a suit."

The 78-year-old Canadian is also among the most decorated singer/songwriter/performers of any generation, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. On this album's liner notes, he shows off his drawing abilities with a series of sketches, designs and notebook images to go with the lyrics.

Most of Old Ideas is presented with sparse instrumentation and Cohen's breathy delivery that is as much singing as poetry reading. A rotating flock of background angels swoop in throughout to hit all the hymnal high notes at just the right times.

The collection, his first since 2004's Dear Heather, is most fun when Cohen becomes the voice of Viagra singing the songs of Cialis - Show Me The Place, Anyhow, Crazy To Love You and Different Sides.

He's the smoothest talking silver-tongued and silver-haired devil of them all on Anyhow:

"I used up all my chances
And you'll never take me back
But there ain't no harm in asking
Could you cut me one more slack?

I'm naked and I'm filthy
And there's sweat upon my brow
And both of us are guilty

I'm betting she says, "Yes."

Song For The Soundtrack: Darkness

Running Data For Tuesday, June 4:
3.86 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.63 Miles

Saturday, July 6, 2013


The Next Day

603 Miles To Go

David Bowie's The Next Day is an unexpected call from an eccentric old friend who you thought was gone forever except in memories.

You're happy to get it, but some of the new references ring too distant and esoteric to completely understand. Nonetheless, it's fabulous to hear to Bowie's voice again, though it remains naturally a little cold.

Always experimental, it's the first record in a decade for the 66-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee; the last was 2003's Reality. But, The Next Day dawns with the familiar feel of 1980's classic Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps).

Produced by longtime compatriot Tony Visconti, there are plenty of guitar crashes, horn splashes and musical landscapes reminiscent of Tom Waits' work with Marc Ribot. Some of the songs move into dance tempo, while others remain sparse and atmospheric.

Visconti also plays on several of the songs. Other notable players include guitarist Earl Slick, another veteran Bowie contributor, and King Crimson bassist Tony Levin.

This record isn't likely to grab you completely on first listen. You have to go back The Next Day and the next, as it becomes more approachable with each new session.

And, like most of his music, Bowie makes it ultimately worthwhile.

The Next Day Song For The Soundtrack: (You Will) Set The World On Fire

When I'm President

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band: When I'm President

Another of rock's senior gentlemen, Ian Hunter, may be 74, but he's still tapping the energetic pub rock that makes his combined catalog of solo records and work with Mott The Hoople worthy of Rock Hall consideration.

On 2012's When I'm President, Hunter's voice remains vibrant and the Rant Band rocking. It's Hunter's 20th solo album and first since 2009's Man Overboard.

Throughout his career, Hunter always has understood what Jerry Lee Lewis taught about the importance of marrying big guitar riffs and pounding keyboards to create the optimal effect.

When I'm President is no exception. Jame Mastro and Mark Bosch swap turns as "guitar left," "guitar right" and soloist. Meanwhile, Andy Burton plays piano, "wurly," B3, and farfisa.

Lyrically, the album is playful on Comfortable (Flyin' Scotsman), Wild Bunch, Saint; reflective on Fatally Flawed, What For, Life; in love on Black Tears, Just The Way You Look Tonight, I Don't Know What You Want; and of course presidential on the title track.

Among his campaign promises:

"I'm gonna lean on the 1% - when I'm president
No more bargains in the basement - when I'm president
Washington - Jefferson - watch out baby - 'cos here I come
Abraham - Theodore - You're gonna see my ugly mug up on Mt. Rushmore"

Who cares if Hunter's English descent precludes him from running?

He is eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and this album is further proof that he deserves the votes to be in that office.

When I'm President Song For The Soundtrack: Comfortable (Flyin' Scotsman)

Running Data For Sunday, June 2:
9.57 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.77 Miles