Monday, 12 October 2009

The Influence of Bennie Hess

I’ve never really thought about Bennie Hess and the fact that his music may have influenced anyone. For all the years I’ve been aware of him, I just thought of him as a bit of a bullshitter who happened to lay down a couple of real hot rockers. Such was his bravado and bs, Jack Scott’s Tall tales could have been written about him. Today I was driving to work listening to the Best of Spade CD and for the first time I was hit by a couple of resemblances.

It’s one thing for the man with the hit records and portfolio of Jerry lee Lewis to sing Lewis Boogie, Rockin’ Jerry Lee et al, but for Bennie Hess to do Bennie Hess Boogie, is big balls in cow town indeed. It’s a fantastic rocker with piano and guitar giving the Bennie Hess Boogie everything they’ve got. What struck me today was this song had to have influenced Hank C. Burnette. The bass line for one, the echoed voice, but most of all the guitar that sounds like it’s breathed a mouthful of helium balloon.

The second song that had me thinking of his influencing others was Boppin’ The Rock. It had all the hallmarks of a Freddie Fingers Lee record. In particular I think I was reminded of Dib Dab Boogie. Is Freddie a big fan? I’ve know idea, but I’m sure I could hear him in Bennie Hess.

So here's a tip of the cowboy hat to a true Texas legend. Larger than life, with stories that were larger than reality. For what it's worth, his best known song is Wild Hog Hop which is considered a rockabilly classic. I don't like it at all and think it's a shocker. But the Bennie Hess Boogie, that's different, that's a beauty.

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