I first came to know and love Reverend Horton Heat in the fall of 2002. I was living in Charleston, S.C. and on a whim a buddy of mine went to see him play based soley on their ad in the alt weekly. There was a picture of this dude and it claimed if you’re looking for a good time and enjoy songs about cocaine, martini’s and cowboy you should come see this concert. It was like some sort of religious calling. I took one look and decided this was a concert to not miss.
That the three-piece lived up to my high expectations, well, what can you say. How many other bands play music described as “psychobilly.” Psychedelic hill billy rock? Plus they played a song named “Jimbo” and that’s always cool with me.
Jim Heath, who’s alter ego is The Reverend, has begun a side project with Tim Alexander on Hammond B-3 organ and Todd Soesbe on drums to form Reverend Organdrum. The new trio, based more in organ jazz, will release their debut album Hi-Fi Stereo on Jan. 8.
Reverend Organdrum finds The Rev and his axe work in a more laid-back mood, another side to the musical mind that brought you the teeth-chattering guitar work-outs of “Psychobilly Freakout” and “Bales of Cocaine.” While nestling comfortably in the cozy groove of Alexander and Soesbe, Heath’s signature style still gleams while he morphs his attacking style into greasy back-beat funk. But make no mistake, this isn’t RHH lite. Jim and the boys blast blues and rockabilly covers, albeit with a more genteel, countrypolitan flair that’s more martini than corn liquor.
Hi-Fi Stereo covers the pantheon of hipness, dosing out greasy soul, funk, blues, lounge, rockabilly and just about everything else that sounds best dripping from a 45rpm in the wee hours. The band puts their own dirty spin on classics (“Honky Tonk”), TV/movie themes (“James Bond Theme”) and vintage soul-jazz nuggets (“Groovin”). Hi-Fi Stereo swings with an in-the-pocket cool, showing us yet another side of the force of nature that is…The Reverend Horton Heat.
I always thought there was this cool, retro jazzy side to The Rev that he should have explored more. We’ll keep an eye out for this record. In the meantime, enjoy my theme song. This is what would be playing as I kick the shit out of people or glide down the sidewalks of New York. We threw in two others for your consideration.