The Nighthawks review…April 21, 2015…

THE NIGHTHAWKS

BACK PORCH PARTY

LIVE AND ACOUSTIC

ELLERSOUL RECORDS  ELL 1505

ROCK THIS HOUSE–WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT–DOWN IN THE HOLE–MATCHBOX–TIGER IN YOUR TANK–JANA LEA–ROLLIN STONE–GUARD YOUR HEART–DOWN TO MY LAST MILLION TEARS–HEY MISS HEY–ROOSTER BLUES–BACK TO THE CITY

The Nighthawks continue their foray into acoustic blues following up their Blues Award-winning ‘Last Train To Bluesville” with a brilliant, live-in-the-studio set done at Montrose Studio in Richmond, VA, entitled “Back Porch Party.”  And a party it is, indeed—set in front of an intimate, in-studio crowd, the fellows roll thru twelve cuts of cool covers and ‘Hawks originals.

The lineup is the same—the venerable Mark Wenner on harp, Paul Bell on guitar, Johnny Castle on bass, and Mark Stutso on drums.  The engineers hit “record” and the guys did the rest–one take is all it took to get this party committed to wax, and it makes for a really fun listen.  Things kick off wth the Jimmy Rogers chestnut, “Rock This House,” while Mark pays tribute to one of his mentors, Muddy Waters, with a chugging “Tiger In Your Tank,” and the pounding stomp of “Rollin’ Stone.”  Johnny Castle’s cuts, “Jana Lea” and “Hey Miss Hey” have a Fifties’ doo-wop feel, and Mark has made “Walkin’ After Midnight” a staple of the band’s live shows.  Two of the band’s early works are also represented.  Mark takes the lead vocal and tells the tale of “learning the wrong from the right,” but never how to “Guard Your Heart.”  The set closes with another cool original as Mark vows to move “Back To The City,” because “this country living sho’ has got me down!”

We had two favorites, too.  The story of that “Little Red Rooster and the little brown hen” is a humorous rocker, and “Down In The Hole” is where the fellows want to keep the Devil.  This one has fine call-and-response vocals from everyone, set over a haunting groove.

Hey—good blues is good blues, whether it’s stripped-down or amped-up, and The Nighthawks have been pitchin’ a boogie for some forty years, and they just keep getting better!  “Back Porch Party” is a whole lotta fun!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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