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The Reverend Horton Heat - Spend a Night in the Box Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 March 2000

The Reverend Horton Heat

Spend a Night in the Box
format: CD
label: Time Bomb Recordings
performance: 8
sound 8
reviewed by: Bryan Dailey

ImageIf you are into the high-energy rockabilly music known as punkabilly, chances are you’re already been preached to by the Reverend. Jim Heath, a.k.a. The Reverend Horton Heat, and his band have been putting out some of the best punk- inspired rockabilly music of the past 10 years. The band’s seventh album ‘Spend a Night In The Box’ may perhaps be thier finest work to date. With his trusty Gretsch guitar and spring reverb sound, the Reverend strums and solos his way through these 14 tracks, shifting gears between rockabilly, country, swamp, surf, blues and swing. He isn’t the guitar virtuoso that Brian Setzer is, but what the Reverend lacks in musician chops, he more than makes up for with his gritty, down and dirty attitude.

‘Spend A Night In The Box’ is an album that works on many levels. It will satisfy the hardcore rockabilly fan who lives for the Reverend. It is also a great album to put on at a party as a soundtrack to the evening’s wild antics. Written almost exclusively by the Reverend himself, the songs on the album are straightforward, simple and catchy. There are few songs on the record that border on being cheesy and the Reverend’s lyrics are not always the most inspired. "Unlucky in love/Sweet turtle dove/Oh, Lord above/Why am I unlucky in love." Some may see this as a negative aspect of the album, but I have a feeling that people aren’t coming to the Reverend for the answers to life’s big questions. The sermon the Reverend is preaching has to do with booze, women and having a good time.

The swing movement has had its day in the sun and I’m sure that many people will try to write the Reverend Horton Heat off as just another swing band, but there is much more to his music than that. ‘Spend A Night In The Box’ is a great-sounding, no-frills record that not only swings, but also grooves, rocks and rolls you for 48 minutes and 53 seconds. It will leaves you wanting to hit repeat on your CD player.

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