Rhythm & Views

Reverend Organdrum

What does a classy, untouchable rockabilly cat do once he's conquered the world several times over? For Jim Heath, aka the Reverend Horton Heat, he forms Reverend Organdrum. A trio with Heath on guitar, Tim Alexander (from Asleep at the Wheel) on Hammond B-3 organ and Todd Soesbe on drums, Reverend Organdrum breathe new life into 18 vintage cover songs on their debut, Hi-Fi Stereo.

Reverend Organdrum are not out to reinvent the classic organ-guitar-drums jazz/stripper-funk trio or rework these chestnuts into new shapes. But they are definitely out to party them up and bring some high energy to the proceedings, which they do with impeccable chops and a big grin. Deftly moving and grooving from soul, funk and lounge to blues, rockabilly and film/TV theme songs, the whole thing just slides by on a sheen of pomade, vermouth and assorted lubricants.

Instrumental aficionados will revel in classics like "Honky Tonk," Night Train," "I Got a Woman," "Groovin'" and "Hang 'Em High." Booker T. and the MG's get covered twice ("Time Is Tight" and "Can't Be Still"), as does Henry Mancini ("A Shot in the Dark" and "Experiment in Terror"), and Duke Ellington and Roland Kirk both get covered for good measure, too. For a change of pace, Heath steps up to the mic for "Bim Bam Baby" and the Sinatra (Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, really) gem "Ain't That a Kick in the Head."

Short on surprise but long on guts, grease and grooves, Hi-Fi Stereo shortens the distance between the funky past and the funky present.

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