On Safari with Rocking Rolling Kentucky Headhunters

On Safari with Rocking Rolling Kentucky Headhunters

On Safari with Rocking Rolling Kentucky Headhunters

Release Date 4th November 2016

Heading out on a musical Safari we join The Kentucky Headhunters fun on their twelfth album. A band that for nearly fifty years have entertained with their distinctive interpretation of Rock n’Roll. It is a blending that creates a perfect musical palette that explores Blues, Southern rock, Country rock and good old honk tonk good time foot stomping delights. Every Safari has the big Five that we all want to see in the case of The Kentucky Headhunters the Five Sounds we want to hear. They definitely capture the five and so much more. Yes, we hear Rock, Blues the stand out Vocals of Doug Phelps, Greg Martins Guitar and the Bedrock Rhythm section of the Young brother’s Fred & Richard.

There is much to say about the band from the origins of the Itchy Brothers, family ties and relationships to Fred Young, drummer in Black Stone but this is a review of the dozen songs that are taking us On Safari.

Opening with Beaver Creek Mansion the Southern/Country Rock tone is laid down with the shuffle of the drums, squeal of the guitar and the cadence of Doug’s vocals. It is the hot steaming good-time beat we love that fills every corner of the room as they spell out the words to a beat that is simply infectious. The Blues are strong throughout the album sometimes nudging the shape and other tracks it is brought to the fore as with Deep South Country Blues, wow country blues that shapes and paints a picture that is hot and steaming down by a bayou. Two other tracks have blues in the title Lowdown Memphis Town Blues with an African undertow in the drumming and the lilting more urban controlled tempo that washes over you like blues satin. The third the saved the best till later on in the album is Jukebox Full Of Blues, this is good time dancing blues with the juke joint honky-tonk delight no one can listen to this and not tap their feet, drum their fingers most it will be a pointless resistance to get up and dance with their rocking shoes!

On Safari, is a jukebox of sounds that never crash and burn, they all fit into the album, I am The Hunter stretches out beyond the south with rock that churns up the blues and creates a track of epic proportions and audiences will love to chant back I am The Hunter as there is a certainty in a higher light music that weaves itself into your soul and spreads throughout your consciousness. The album then throws in a ballad Crazy Jim more country than blues or Rock and the grizzled vocals and guitar that answers the words makes Crazy Jim full of charmed interest. Change of beat Rainbow Shine is the moment when we sit back, relax and take a look at life quietly we all need a moment to breathe when on Safari.

Closing with electric, fast-moving jaunty Governor’s Cup this instrumental leaves you feeling that this is a Safari you will repeat again and again in the certainty that the album will lift the spirit and make you smile.

Why the Title On Safari? The music is taken from the inspiration gained on their first time trip overseas. Pushed out of their comfort zone by Richard’s son John Fred Young they traveled to Europe. The result is music that sparkles with the excitement of traveling and being On Safari. Band members/brothers Richard and Fred Young poignantly lost their father just three days before heading into the studio to record the album, which they have dedicated in his memory.

Kentucky Headhunters – On Safari – Plowboy Records/Practice House Records

NINE pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Beaver Creek Mansion
  2. Deep South Blues Again
  3. I Am The HUnter
  4. Caught In A Dream
  5. Crazy Jim
  6. Big Time
  7. Lowdown Memphis Blues
  8. Rainbow Shine
  9. Way Down Yonder
  10. Jukebox Full Of Blues
  11. God Loves A Rolling Stone
  12. Govenor’s Cup

Jock’s Juke Joint Volume Two – CD Review


Jock’s Juke Joint Volume Two, is a compilation of delight across all eighteen tracks providing the perfect showcasing of the depth of talent in Scotland that sadly for the rest of us in the British Isles we rarely get to see live. Listening to this CD is the best use of seventy minutes I have had for a long time as I was introduced to band after band and left wanting more – this mix would be a top festival line-up for a blues festival that would bring real delight to all. The overall reflection of the CD is quality blues with the harmonica showcased at the highest standard throughout combined with great vocals, guitar playing and the bedrock rhythm section.

Each of the eighteen tracks on the CD is there for a reason and fits in with the preceding and following so there are no harsh juxtapositions, this is not though a bland mix of safety each band is bringing to the party something different so this is a casket of jewels that shine bright with all the colour, glints and shines that each jewel brings to the collection. I never write about every track, but rules in my book are made for breaking so we are going to have a snippet about every track….

Opening with a feel good party song kick starts the event as Blues ‘n’ Trouble get the proceedings under way. The opening lick of The Kennel Wages‘, ‘Fighting Over You’ is infectious combined with the blues harp/vocals provided by Danny Williams; this is quickly followed by Wang Dang Delta‘s, ‘Shutting Out The World’ with the beautiful piano of Alan Sunderland and as the notes fade away we have a change of tempo and up jumps The 4 Al’s, ‘Jam’al’ with this instrumental jump jive dancing number that is just pure energy. Cynthia Gentle And The True Tones, ‘You Just can’t Win’, well I can when listening to a voice like Cynthia’s with natural tones that soar above the instruments and is pure pleasure. We have been treated to such a wide variety and this is only track five!

Next up is a clever slow number, Binsness Bluesboys, ‘Crawdad Hole’ that highlights a marriage made in blues heaven when it is got right, and boy do they get it right! The interplay between the Sax and Harp wow what could follow this! But this being Jock’s Juke box it has the perfect follow-on with Jed Potts and The Hillman Hunters, takes us out of Scotland and to the Mississippi Delta with a match made in heaven between the skilled guitar work and the vocals and immaculate drumming, I really do want to hear a live set from this band. This CD manages to cover all the blues scene with the inclusion of folky-blues from John Alexander followed by swing from Baby Isaac and the second female vocalist (incidentally this is the only band I have heard before having reviewed their CD for Blues Matters, which I thoroughly enjoyed). Yet, there is no feeling off ticking of the various strands of the genre the album flows naturally as it showcases the plethora of talent Scotland has to offer.

Now we are half way through a river flowing with quality blues with a mix of still, turbulent, troubled and murky waters blended to please. The harp playing on track ten by the talented Richard Young a Englishman now living in Scotland shines out ‘Confidence Man’ is stellar and combines with his glorious vocals. Then a complete contrast with The Lynsey Dolan Band, ‘Do Right Man’, with her sultry blues, late night voice that melds in with the music creating a complete package, a real marshmallow moment. Then as you would expect another change of tempo with a big Rock n’ Roll sound that makes you want to dance the night away from The Blueswater with great female backing vocals on ‘Should I Be Good or Bad’. Leah follows with a dirty guitar and silky smooth voice creating an ambience on ‘Lost In Night’ of a nightclub, that is not on the right side of town but definitely worth going to hear this voice. A duo, Hot Tin Roof, that has a great acoustic lay-backed interplay follows with ‘Maybe Baby’ bringing down the tempo so we can all draw breath again.

The home-straight starts with track fifteen and a modern take on the blues but true to the tradition is Earl Gray and The Loose Leaves, with great vocals and a Americana/hill country sound with interesting echoing chorus line, this track certainly made me sit up, listen and enjoy. ‘Dear John’ brought to the proceedings by Dougie Burn is a quiet track with soaring harp playing and a display of even more of the talent that has been the link between the majority of the acts on this clever compilation. The Black Diamond Express, has a percussive feel to the rendition of ‘Never Was a Lass So Fair’, with its folk feel and would be at home in any Ceilidh, definitely bring I dollop of Celtic style blues to the party, very clever. All too soon it is the closing song, the party is drawing to a close, and we are treated to a beautiful bluesy song from Fraser Spiers and Lewis Hamilton, with a combo of harp and sharp guitar playing they collude with each other to bring a sweet harmonious instrumental .
I have never really been a fan of compilations but thanks to Duncan Beattie I am a convert, as I always feel that they promise more than they deliver – not in this case can’t wait to hear volume 3,4…. and will definitely be exploring Scottish blues and adding more of this artists to my CD collection. My further plea is we would love to hear you live in Wales and England – so take the high or low road out of Scotland and share your talent with us.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of