|Wild Hell Dogs, Early Times|
Before you start reading this, you must keep in mind that I am truly a rockabilly fanatic and that I am writing this review from that perspective. I was asked to do a review of this brand new cd "Wild Hell Dogs, Early Times" by David Joost, one of the bandmembers. I presumed it would be a wild rockabilly cd, so I said yes. Boy, I'm real sorry now that I did. The name "Wild Hell Dogs" doesn't make any sense, there's nothing "wild" or "hell" about this cd. David comments: "The name is sort of a joke, since my partner and I are really sort of square, mild white guys from Illinois."
David tells me they were influenced by the original sound of Sun Records. I wrote to him that I cannot make that connection and he replied: "Just because we feel that we are influenced by the Sun sound, Elvis, Howlin' Wolf, etc., that doesn't necessarily mean that our music is going to SOUND exactly like those artists." Well, I'm sorry to say, it does not sound ANYTHING like these great originators.
I think the band does have qualities to make good music, they probably just didn't feel like it at the time. So before you all go running to the next cd-store to get this new "wild" cd, read the rest of this review first. I will try to comment on the tracks.
The album starts off with "Liars Box", just some slow jamming on an acoustic guitar, the way my 6 year old daughter does when she gets bored, plus some studiotalk that doesn't make any sense to me. Next track is "Go Dog", well, the band has taken up electric guitar and harmonica. The vocals sound as if they were recorded through a telephone. The tune sounds ok, if recorded properly it might even sound nice. Too bad the song just stops after about 80 seconds. This is very short, even in rockabilly terms.
"Five Day Funk" comes up next, sound quality is improving, this bluesy track actually sounds like a real song. Don't let the title fool you, it's nothing like funk (or rockabilly for that matter). The fourth track is called "Rhythm", the intro of this song reminds me of some rockabilly roots music that Charlie Feathers did for his own Feathers label in the 70s, only the rhythm in this song will not get you on your feet, after a minute or so it even gets quite anoying, just as the next track "Marked", a bluesy slow song with no roots and no emotions, just a lot of whining. And just when I think the intro has come to an end and the song is really gonna kick off, it's all over and we can listen to a reprise of the first song "Liar's Box", accoustic guitar has been replaced by electric, I'm still not impressed.
"Have Nots" starts off with some studio talk that reminds of forgotten Sun-tapes, but that's about all that reminds of original rockabilly music. Very anoying vocals. "Love... It'll Do It" sounds to me like the second half of the previous track, still anoying. But on the number nine track "Hypno-Voodoo" there is finally a bit of action, just a bit mind you, but someone is actually hitting on some drums here. The singer is still whining in the same irritating voice though.
Track 10, "Spoken Word". The title says it all: spoken words. Maybe some studio talk that should have been left out, but was accidently left in. Quickly on to the next track "Get Your Love On". I'm getting real bored now, I don't feel like playing the rest of this cd at all, but I promised David I would...
"Family Farm", it just keeps going on and on, it all sounds very much the same to me. The harmonica is back, but that doesn't boost up this song. The singer is raising his voice now and then, but otherwise it's still the same sound as the other tracks. One more to go, "Sweet Moonshine", the final track. Studio talk, again. BUT we got some rhythm here, if anything on this cd comes a little bit close to rockabilly, it's this track. It's definitly the best track on this album and I hate it! Need I say more?
The BlackCat, March 1999