Friday, May 25, 2007

Both Kinds of Music: Honky and Tonk

But enough about me, let's talk about what I'm listening to.

Bill Kirchen Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods

Best album name of the year and one of the most satisfying listening experiences too. Very varied in styles and a hot sound from a crack backing group which includes Nick Lowe. The title song is a rollicking hymn to the Fender and I've been quietly belting out the inspirational refrain for weeks.

It was born at the junction
Of form and function ....
It's the hammer of the honky tonk gods ...


The first thing most profiles will mention about Kirchen is the guitar hero status, but he has a lovely voice for country and soul, see the covers of Devil in a Blue Dress, Skid Row in My Mind and If It's Really Got to Be This Way.

Apart from the title track, my top numbers are the philosophical folky ache of Rocks into Sand and instant rockabilly classic Get a Little Goner.

David Ball Heartaches by the Number

I'm a bit hazy on David Ball's career trajectory. There were some songs, and a Grammy nomination and then not much. Not that I'm a dedicated follower of the US charts so maybe he's been ripping up the joint all these years.

In any event this is my kind of album, on account of: you can never have too many versions of Please Help Me I'm Falling. I don't think there's a song here much over three minutes but it is, to quote a phrase, chock full o' country goodness and you won't leave unsatisfied. I had a dim memory of hearing Hag or someone sing Please Feed the Jukebox until I found out it is the only new Ball-penned song on the album. So maybe not, but it slips in seamlessly next to the classics.

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