The Nighthawks review…July 26, 2017…

THE NIGHTHAWKS

ALL YOU GOTTA DO

ELLERSOUL RECORDS ER 1707-29

THAT’S ALL YOU GOTTA DO–WHEN I GO AWAY–BABY, I WANT TO BE LOVED–LET’S BURN DOWN THE CORNFIELD–ANOTHER DAY–VOODOO DOLL–NINETY NINE–THREE TIMES YOUR FOOL–ISN’T THAT SO–SNAKE DRIVE–BLUES FOR BROTHER JOHN–DIRTY WATER

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been listening to The Nighthawks since the early 1980’s, and their vinyl LP’s from that era were some of our very first exposure to contemporary blues.  A lotta blue have been played since that time, and the fellows are still bringing their fans the best in blues and roots-rock.  So, let’s cue up their latest release for EllerSoul Records, “All You Gotta Do,” and get ready to party!  On this set,  four cuts are band originals, and they put their own unique stamp on eight varied covers.

Mark Wenner is on harp, Paul Bell is on guitar, Johnny Castle is on bass, and Mark Stutso is the drummer.  And, EVERYBODY sings!  The music draws from a myriad of influences, and always follows the credo of having fun while bringing this music to the masses.

It wasn’t that long ago that these guys cut a killer version of “Walkin’ After Midnight,” so it’s no stretch of the imagination for them to lead off with the title cut, a rompin’ Fifties-rocker penned by Jerry Reed  Hubbard and made popular by Brenda Lee.  They revisit that Fifties groove a bit later, this time with a ballad, “Three Times Your Fool,” with a soulful vocal from Mark Stutso.

They pay tribute to Chicago blues and Chess Records with the waaay-cool stop-time stutter-step of “Baby, I Want To Be Loved,”  and Rice Miller’s Ninety Nine,” this one with Mark Wenner on that big ‘ol twelve-holed Marine Band harp to hit that deep, lower register.

We had two favorites, too, both at opposite ends of the musical spectrum.  First up, Mark Stutso is again on vocal on a heartfelt performance of a song most closely associated with Levon Helm, as he finally lays his burdens down in the poignant farewell of “When I Go Away.”  And, the set closes with the rock-and-roll fervor Johnny Castle brings to the Standells’ chestnut, “Dirty Water,” augmented by Mark’s harp and that familiar guitar riff from Paul Bell.

The Nighthawks epitomize a hard-working blues band whose vast repertoire and ability to cross genres’ keep them fresh, relevant, and in-demand with their world-wide fan base.  And, as one can hear on “All You Gotta Do,” they intend to have some fun along the Blues Highway!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

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