Reverend Horton HEAT – Laughin' and Cryin' with Reverend Horton Heat 2009

Reverend Horton HEAT – Laughin’ and Cryin’ with Reverend Horton Heat 2009

Blues

The Reverend Horton Heat may have started out as the loudest and wildest rockabilly act in all creation, but with the passage of time, guitarist Jim Heath and his rhythm section have mellowed quite a bit (particularly from It’s Martini Time onward), and compared to their early work for Sub Pop, Laughin’ & Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat sounds downright placid. Part of this boils down to thematic issues — with two songs about Texas, another about how intellectuals don’t get people from the South or West, and one that actually gripes about how weird death metal guys are, Laughin’ & Cryin’ leaves a certain amount to be desired in terms of imagination and originality, and even when Heath comes up with a witty idea (comparing a busted romance to the Hindenburg on “Aw, The Humanity” or explaining why the Good Lord isn’t likely to help you at the blackjack table in “Oh God/ Doesn’t Work in Vegas”), the execution doesn’t have quite the juice that would solidly bring it across. Heath’s guitar work is still fluid and lively, but the melodies lack the energy and hot-rodded power he used to summon with ease, and bassist Jimbo Wallace and drummer Paul Simmons don’t appear to be pushing him with any real conviction, though they keep time just fine. A shortage of speed and punch isn’t the only major problem by a long shot — Heath’s Rev. Organdrum side project was devoted to jazz and blues-based material that dialed down the tempo but sounded fresher and more engaged than most of the stuff on Laughin’ & Cryin’, which instead plays like the work of an act with talent to spare but not much in the way of new ideas or inspiration. The execution is skillful enough that Laughin’ & Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat can get by on the impressive chops of the players, but anyone who spent much time listening to this trio in their heyday (or even as far back as 2004’s Revival) can’t help but feel a bit let down by this album.
By Mark Deming, All Music Guide.
**
The biggest chops. The most tour dates. The most kick-ass live show. The greatest rock-country-punkabilly performer of his generation, the Reverend Horton Heat is back after a lengthy recording hiatus with Laughin’ and Cryin’ with The Reverend Horton Heat. The man that first linked roots and alternative music is taking it back to where his heart is with Laughin’ and Cryin’. A pomade-stiff romp down the dusty road less traveled, the album leans toward the hard-drinking, hard-driving ‘billy’ side of rockabilly with lounge love songs (Aw, the Humanity), odes to the good life (Drinkin’ and Smokin’ Cigarettes), comical takes on family life (Please Don’t Take the Baby to the Liquor Store) and country guitar wizardry, Rev-style (Oh by Jingo!). Since his breakout album Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em The Rev has gained a diehard cult following who flock to his never ending string of gigs and continue to spread the myth of the biggest, baddest guitar man on the planet – the Reverend Horton Heat.
**
The cover art for Laughin’ & Cryin’ With the Reverend Horton Heat gives fans a hint of the content throughout the good Rev’s latest album.
The veteran rockabilly act set out to make a classic country album, but a funny thing happened on the way.
“I really wanted to make a great country record but I just didn’t get it done,” said vocalist-guitarist Jim Heath, a.k.a. the Rev, calling from his suburban Dallas home. “During the writing process, I came up with funny songs. I went with the tongue-in-cheek, the absurd, rather than old-school country.”
Heath’s eye for the amusing and irreverent is as spot-on as his ear for raucous roots-rock. “Death Metal Guys,” poking fun at the subgenre, and “Oh God/Doesn’t Work in Vegas,” about how you’re not going to get help from above when shooting craps, are just a couple of the amusing tracks that grace L&C.
“I just thought it was time to make an album that was funny or goofy, especially in a twisted manner,” Heath said. “You just don’t see albums like this anymore. It’s a pretty straightforward world.”
Don’t expect all of the material to be on the lighter side when Reverend Horton Heat, which also includes bassist Jimbo Wallace and drummer Paul Simmons, performs Saturday night at the Granada Theater. “I know a lot of our fans like the more serious stuff,” Heath said. “We’ll play some of that. I’ll admit that maybe the best songs I ever wrote are on the serious side, but it’s fun to make an album like this because people ought to be entertained and that’s what we’ve come to do with Laughin’ & Cryin’ .”
Heath isn’t sure if his trio is going to make that elusive country album next. “I just know that whatever it is, it won’t be calculated,” Heath said. Some recording artists “decide to go country since they think it might be easier to become country stars than rock stars, and they’re not right.”
Touring is a priority for Heath and company, who would rather be on the road than in the studio. “I always looked at albums as an advertisement for our band,” Heath said. “It’s not that I dislike the studio. It’s just that I much prefer to play music in front of people and hear them go ‘Yeah!’
“We do at least 120 dates a year. I hear that some younger bands just want to focus on their records, and they think touring stinks. Well, if that’s true, they should go back to college and figure out what they really should do for a living. All I know is I want to tour for years like Ray Price, Jerry Lee Lewis and Willie Nelson. I want to do that and have some laughs on the way.”
By Ed Condran.
**
Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath- Guitar & Vocals
Jimbo Wallace – Upright Bass & Vocals
Scott Churilla – Drums & Vocals
Tim Alexander – Piano on “Party Mad”
**
01. Drinkin’ and Smokin’ Cigarettes 4:04
02. Ain’t No Saguaro in Texas 3:41
03. Death Metal Guys 3:20
04. River Ran Dry 2:39
05. Please Don’t Take the Baby to the Liquor Store 2:53
06. Aw, the Humanity 4:40
07. Rural Point of View 3:29
08. Oh God! Doesn’t Work in Vegas 4:28
09. Spacewalk 2:45
10. Beer Holder 3:48
11. Crazy Ex Boyfriend 3:19
12. There’s A Little Bit of Everything in Texas 2:24
13. Just Let Me Hold My Paycheck 4:25
14. Oh By Jingo! 2:08
**


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