Saturday, October 1, 2011

SCANDALOUS (DELUXE VERSION) - Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears (2011)

There's a guitar solo that kicks in around the three minute mark of Since I Met You Baby, the tenth track on Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears's second LP Scandalous. It's hardly the most spectacular solo, but it feels perfect for that moment, and every time I hear it, all I can think is "this is exactly what contemporary music needs today - this sheer, old-fashioned love for the jam!"

And jamming, fellow listeners, is what Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears do best.

A blues/funk/garage act forged in the fires of Austin's fertile UT bar scene, The Honeybears can deliver the crisp discipline of traditional soul when it suits them, but it's their college band roots, their youthful eagerness to just tear down the house, the sets the band apart.

They're more than happy to steal riffs wholesale from past favorites (in one three song stretch alone you'll encounter blatant lifts from CCR's Suzie Q, Led Zeppelin's Communication Breakdown, and just about every riff from John Mayall's 60s classic Blues Breakers), and unlike other contemporary soul revivalists like the Dap Kings or Mayer Hawthorne, who seem to wear their restraint as badge of honor, The Honeybears openly welcome the mess that comes with going unrelentingly full throttle.  You can practically hear the band tripping over each other, so eager do they seem to rip into the next solo, the next killer brass run, the next vocal howl, and this enthusiasm imbues the entire album with a raunchy exuberance that's impossible to resist.

Lyrically, the band has only one classic theme on its, which Black Joe ponders
in all its permutations, sometimes quite humorously (i.e. check out the band's late night road trip to a Nevada brothel in Mustang Ranch)...but this isn't an album you throw on for the lyrics, this is an album you throw on to get the party started, and no record this year offers a better collection of bluesy party anthems than Scandalous.

There have been a handful of better releases in 2011, but I can't think of one that's more fun.

One final sure to buy the fifteen track Deluxe Version of this record rather than the original eleven song release.  Those four extra tracks are every bit as good as the original material and not to be missed.

Status: Strong Recommend.

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Booty City, She's So Scandalous, Mustang Ranch, Snatch It Back And Hold It.

Here's the official video for Livin' In The Jungle.

Component Breakdown:
1. Livin' In The Jungle - 9
2. I'm Gonna Leave You - 8 
3. Booty City - 9
4. Black Snake - 8 
5. She's So Scandalous - 9 
6. Messin' - 7
7. Mustang Ranch - 9 
8. You Been Lyin' - 9
9. Ballad Of Jimmy Tanks - 7
10. Since I Met You Baby - 9
11. Jesus Took My Hand - 6
12. Stop Breakin ' Down - 8
13. What Love Is - 8
14. Funny Bone - 9
15. Snatch It Back And Hold It - 9
Intangibles - High.

What are your thoughts on Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears's Scandalous?  Let readers know!

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