Organdrum_span3
April 2008

Reverend Organdrum
Hi-Fi Stereo
Yep Roc

Jim Heath, the rockabilly punk who goes by the name Reverend Horton Heat, has a new side project, and let’s hope it becomes a main attraction for him: Reverend Organdrum is one tight unit. An organ trio that pays homage to Booker T. & the MGs, Reverend Organdrum runs though an eclectic batch of 18 tunes on its debut, Hi-Fi Stereo. The influence of the Memphis instrumental soul group is felt everywhere, most overtly on the Booker T. chestnuts “Time Is Tight” and “Can’t Be Still,” but also in the driving drums of Todd Soesbe and the alternately greasy and punchy Hammond B3 of Tim Alexander. What a selection of songs, too. Henry Mancini’s “A Shot in the Dark,” the James Bond theme, Roland Kirk’s “Black and Crazy Blues,” the Van Heusen and Cahn standard “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues,” Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” the theme to “Hang ’Em High” (which the MGs recorded)—all become vehicles for the power organ and twang guitar. Marquee moment: In the middle of “Can’t Be Still,” the trio abruptly switches to several bars of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” and—surprise!—it fits perfectly. Can’t fault Heath for singing on a couple of tunes, but the album would have been stronger conceptually had he stuck to an all-instrumental format.

Originally published in April 2008
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