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Ronnie Hayward

Cousin Harley

in Reviews

Cousin Harley ‎– It’s A Sin

Little Pig Records ‎– LPR002 [2010]
Conductor Man – She’s Comin’ Back – Beaver Feaver – It’s A Sin – The Ballad Of El Swartho – 2 Bottles Of Booze – Hoss’ Hoedown – I’ll Keep My Old Guitar – Swingin’ Like A Mofo – Red Hair Baby – Spooks – Sweet Little Angel – Spaghetti No Sauce

Cousin Harley is the hard-rocking side of Paul Pigat. The other band members are Keith Picot (double bass) and Jesse Cahill (drums). The album is engineered by Marc Lesperance, who worked with Ray Condo and Ronnie Hayward.
The opening track is a hard-hitting neo-rockabilly song in the lines of Runaway Boys in terms of melody. The next one is a Rockabilly-blues meets jazz number, and sounds like Brian Setzer meets the Paladins. An explosive combination if there is one.
Next is Beaver Fever is a superb Travis picking instrumental. The title track has more of a dark western feel, with a surf edge. The Ballad Of El Swartho is an instrumental with an exotica touch.
2 Bottles of Booze is a rocking blues number that reminded me of Pigat’s fellow Canadians, the Nervous Fellas. Hoss Hoedown sounds like Rawhide or Bonanza on speed.
It’s time for some hillbilly-jazz with their cover of Adoph Hofner’s I’ll Keep My Old Guitar. They take it at an almost frantic pace, but it works well, though it doesn’t allow the song to fully swing.
Another instrumental follows. Do you remember those fast-paced instrumentals by Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West when you think “Oh the poor rhythm section!”, well, this one falls in that category. Pigat should fine his own Speedy West and record a full album in that style.
Back to rockin’ blues with Red Hair Baby, followed by another instro, a slow one this time, that would be the perfect soundtrack for a spooky Film Noir.
Sweet Little Angel is another western swing influenced song which, I must say is not his strongest point. This one sounds more like Asleep at the Wheel than Bob Wills.
The closer could be the theme of a modern western, mixing ingredients of classic movie themes, surf and a dash of Morricone thrown in for good measure.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Ronnie Hayward

in Albums/Contemporary artists/GH/Reviews

Ronnie Hayward - Tail Shaking
Ronnie Hayward – Tail Shaking

Ronnie Hayward – Tail Shaking

El Toro Records – ETCD 2033
Whiskey Flavored Kisses – We’ll Get High -You Can’t Tell me Why – Ronnie’s Blues – Pink Wedding Gown – One Way Ticket – No More For You – Mean Streak Mama – Lonesome Feeling – Quit My Cryin’ – I Don’t Lie It – Honey I’m – Connie lou – Adrianna – Beggin’ Time – 90 Miles An Hour
This cd from Ronnie Hayward is actually a very welcome reissue of material that was previously only available on vinyl ( “Somewhere Out There” on Tail Records, hence the title) with four unreleased tracks from a later session. For this four tracks a drummer joined the trio. You’ll find no slick production here, Ronnie’s music, a fine blend of rural blues, rockabilly and hillbilly bop, is raw and unadulterated. “Whiskey Flavored Kisses”, one of the four unreleased tune, appears here in a very different version than the one on “Too Many Chiefs”, without the slide guitar and with the emphasis put on the rhythm section : heavy strumming acoustic guitar and simple and effective drums and just one stroke of electric guitar in the middle. Simply brilliant. “We’ll Get High” sounds a bit like “Domino” with obsessive guitar and heavy slap bass. Changing mood, “You Cant Tell Me Why” has a kind of a rumba beat into it. Don’t be fooled by the name, “Ronnie’s Blues 5” is not a blues but more a uptempo hillbilly tune with Ronnie’s howlin’ vocal. “No more for you” is a country weeper with harmony on the refrain while “Mean Streak Mama” reflects Hayward’s blues side. Sure this guy in not always in tune, but the lack of exactness is highly compensated by the intensity of his interpretation, even through the stereo one can feel his presence. Isn’t that the most important with this type of music? Fans of Johnny Burnette’s Rock’n’Roll trio will enjoy “Quit My Cryin’” with its “Rock-Billy Boogie” beat. “Honey I’m” is rather different than the other one, more modern if that word has some kind of signification for a Ronnie Hayward’s album, with drums rolls that put a constant tension in the song. “Beggin’ Time” is quite close to the original version and Hank Sow’s “90 Miles An Hour”, which is originally quite soft, could be compared to the best of Wayne Hancock. This comparison is not only valid for this song, both share something really simple, something that makes great artist, something called personality.
Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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