The Kentucky Headhunters review…November 17, 2016…

THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS

ON SAFARI

PLOWBOY RECORDS PLO–CD–1037

BEAVER CREEK MANSION–DEEP SOUTH BLUES AGAIN–I AM THE HUNTER–CAUGHT IN A DREAM–CRAZY JIM–BIG TIME–LOWDOWN MEMPHIS TOWN BLUES–RAINBOW SHINE–WAY DOWN YONDER–JUKEBOX FULL OF BLUES–GOD LOVES A ROLLING STONE–GOVERNORS CUP

The Kentucky Headhunters got their start back in 1968, when brothers Richard and Fred Young and two of their cousins formed the core of the band.  The cousins later departed, and the band took on ts current lineup.  They hit it big with their 1989 debut, “Pickin’ On Nashville,” and have never looked back.  They play a mighty fine brand of blues, Southern rock, and country, and have just released their twelfth album, “On Safari,” for Plowboy Records.”

Richard Young is on guitar, Doug Phelps is on bass, Greg Martin is on guitar, and Fred K. Young is one of the best drummers on the planet in any genre.’  These songs have somewhat of a harder edge than some of t”The ‘Heads” earlier works.  This is undoubtedly an offshoot of the passing of  James Young, the father of Richard and Fred, just three days before this set was to be recorded.

Leaning on the mantra that “what makes you weak also makes you stronger,” this is an excellent batch of songs.  First up is the slide-heavy anthem, “Beaver Creek Mansion,” which details all things good about Kentucky, including “barbecue and Derby pie!”  The swampy groove of  “Deep South Blues Again” touts more good things about the South, this time naming “frog legs, Dr. John, and crawfish boils,”  among many others!   A man who learns a hard lesson about lost love is the theme of not being “ready for the Big Time,” while the fellows dig deep into their roots for the gospel-themed  “God Loves A Rolling Stone.”

We had two favorites, too.  “Crazy Jim” is a morality play of sorts, about a gentle, eccentric soul who “gave away rocks as gifts” and “came from a place where they never learned to hate.”  And, the juke joint rocks from dusk to dawn thanks to the “Jukebox Full Of Blues,” that plays everything from “Suzie Q” to “Maybellene” and everything in between!  Honorary Headhunter Kevin McKendree busts out a mean left hand on the Johnnie Johnson-inspired 88’s on this one.

It’s been a long time since we all went “down to Dumas Walker’s,” but The Kentucky Headhunters keep on strokin.’  “On Safari” shows their perseverance thru tough times, and their strong southern values.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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