Robert Shafer is a hotshot country-jazz guitarist with fever in his fingers, enormous tone in his Telecaster and a life-threatening Danny Gatton jones. Call it stunt rockabilly: like the legendary Gatton, Shafer skitters across the fretboard like some kind of time-warped redneck demon, throwing out jazz runs, rockabilly riffs and pedal-steel wails by the boxload. Unlike Gatton, Shafer steers clear of gimmickry -- none of that amazing ersatz Hammond organ stuff. The songs on Hillbilly Fever are mainly covers, and they're sung by the estimable Don Dixon, who sounds like he's having more fun than he has in years. There's "Beam Me up, Scotty Moore," and on which Shafer digs deep into his rockabilly bag, there's the weepy charm of "Will Your Lawyer Talk to God," and there are two back-to-back songs about Cadillacs. Marti Jones kicks in on the title track, and Shafer stretches out on several instrumentals, one of which is a down-home arrangement of "Flight of the Bumblebee." The album's only real misstep is "Just Another Ambush," a maudlin number that sticks out like a sore thumb. But the hidden track at the end (a polkabilly take on the "Flintstones" theme) makes up for it. Play this album for your favorite anti-country snob and watch him squirm trying not to love it.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson