Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week - Number 41

Smokestack Lightnin' - Gentle On My Mind (EMI Records)

Current band members Bernie Batke (Vocals & Bass), Michael Kargel (Drums), Frieder Graef (Guitars & Vocals), Dirk Hess (Guitars), Oliver Stangl (Pedal Steel & Strings) formed their apprenticeships in bands like The Blue Jays And The Brewsters before getting together in 1997. Smokestack Lightnin' are one hell of a hot rockin' band, blending hard slap-based rockabilly with a retro-country twang. They have a sound all of their own but if you had to compare them with anyone I would say it was the Road Hammers.

Their Soulbeat (2000) and Homecooking (2005) albums are great and paved the way for a bit of fame courtesy of EMI and their cover of the Unknown Stuntman being used on a Honda TV commercial. I don't know if this makes sense to anyone but the heavily echoed vocals and the relentless stompin' boogie compares to the early stuff John lee Hooker did for Modern. I've always loved the song Gentle On My Mind, particularly Elvis' version, and it's a perfect vehicle for Smokestack Lightnin's jangling guitars and driving rhythm.

Recommended downloads: 2007's Modern Twang was a sort of Best of compilation and is well worth buying, otherwise I'd go for The Unknown Stuntman, Soulbeat, Guns n Roses' Paradise City, a rockin' Real Gone Daddy, JC's Ring of Fire and Girl On The Billboard with Paul Ansell.

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