|All Artists: Kentucky Headhunters|
Title: Pickin on Nashville
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 5
Label: Mca Special Products
Release Date: 3/25/2003
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Today's Country, Country Rock, Southern Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 042283874428, 042283874411, 042283874442, 042283874459, 042283874428
It's hard to imagine now, when even Shania Twain routinely uses power chords, but the Kentucky Headhunters' first single, a piledriving, quasi-metal transformation of Bill Monroe's "Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine," was a revolutionary record for country in 1990. With its thumping drums, sheet-metal guitar, and a liquid-fuzztone lead guitar more reminiscent of Blue Cheer than bluegrass, the song sounded like nothing else on country radio. This debut album revealed the ultra-scruffy Headhunters to be a surprisingly traditional group, delving into rockabilly, western swing, and a lot of boogie-woogie. Unfortunately, most of their explorations are disposable (if not outright unlistenable; cf. "Rock & Roll Angel"). Still, besides the brilliant, album-opening first hit, there are enjoyable moments. "My Daddy Was a Milkman" is an ominous rocker with a touch of Bo Diddley and intriguing lyrics, and two covers, Don Gibson's standard "Oh Lonesome Me" and Henson Cargill's 1967 fluke social commentary "Skip a Rope," are rocked up excitingly. And "Dumas Walker" is an irresistible loping country boogie that introduced millions to the titular establishment's delectable menu: "slaw burger, fries, and a bottle of Ski" (a Kentucky knockoff of Mountain Dew). The Headhunters were musical pioneers, but inconsistent to a fault. --Ken Barnes
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(katlupe) from OXFORD, NY
Reviewed on 5/3/2007...
Trying to Find Themselves
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 11/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This CD contains a combination of music that is very inconsistent, ranging from wonderful combinations that really work to sounding like a local band trying their hardest to play country with rock instruments. The end result is tracks that you wish would last longer and tracks that make you feel ill.
The opening track, "Walk Softly on this Heart of Mine," is one of the best on the CD. This wailing song is improved by its rock reinterpretation. I can say this because I liked Bill Monroe's version first. The song "Dumas Walker" has throwaway lyrics, but they are easy to remember and have a line dance beat that just begs to be played down at the local honky-tonk; slap your knees, stomp your feet and have a beer!
Then the music moves onto some less memorable music. "Rag Top" has a nice beat, but the lyrics are awful, a country equivalent of bubblegum music. Each time I hear this song I want to cringe or skip over it. This song is probably fine for the Saturday night crowd after nine PM. On the other hand, the Saturday night crowd might be throwing the band out after this one. Things get no better with "Rock `n' Roll Angel." The less said about that song the better.
I probably should like "Smooth" no more than I liked the previous couple of songs, but I do like this song. I think it's probably because this song has more of a classic country song with the rock and pop elements lower key than the previous couple of songs. The lyrics are relatively simple and easy to remember, so this song would be a good one for a variety of occasions. Another song that affects a classic style, with a solid rock backbeat, is "High Steppin' Daddy." Once again, this song is so basic and so clearly derivative that I probably should dislike it, but how can you dislike music this fun?
On the other hand, I do not care for the Kentucky Headhunters' cover of "Skip a Rope" at all. The original was introspective and dramatic. This version is sped up and loses all the charm of the original. This song is a slow country sung on uppers, and the Headhunters bring nothing to the table on this song.
Once again the Headhunters redeem themselves on "Some Folks like to Steal." This blues song has a number of wonderful elements and real style. The Kentucky Headhunters would be better served to sing music like this.
While I was severely unimpressed with the cover of "Skip a Rope," I enjoyed the cover of "Oh Lonesome Me" a lot. This song keeps within the feeling of the original, and yet with enough of a new interpretation that the song is interesting. Of course, the original already had rock and roll elements and the Headhunters have just taken that style a bit further, but still close enough to the original for this version to be exciting.
This CD closes with a rocker, "Daddy Was a Milkman." One of the jokes that went around frequently many years ago was that this person's daddy or that person's daddy was the milkman. The Kentucky Headhunters have taken this concept to a musical conception. This song is probably the fastest and most rock-infused of any song on this CD. However, it is also one of the better songs as well. Many country fans will probably not like this song because it has too much rock in it, but fans of country-rock may find this song intriguing.
The Kentucky Headhunters is not likely to make to any of my favorites lists. However, there are some interesting tracks, and some interesting interpretations. My impression is that this is a group that is still trying to find itself. There are suggestions in this music as to where this group should go, but in the meantime they are all over the map in style and consistency, and those characteristics make this CD difficult to recommend and difficult to enjoy without qualifications. This CD is absolutely one that you should try before you buy.