The Reverend Horton Heat

Liquor in the Front

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Reverend Horton Heat (aka Jim Heath) always wanted to sound like the wildest, noisiest rockabilly guitarist on Earth, so it was fortunate that he crossed paths with Ministry braintrust Al Jourgensen during his brief spell as an advocate of roots music (and whatever happened to the Buck Satan project, Jourgensen's promised collaboration with Buck Owens?). From a musical standpoint, Liquor in the Front doesn't represent much of a change-up from Heat's previous work; there's a bit of up-tempo surf, a dash of old-school country, and a man-sized portion of fast and frantic tunes about cars, girls, and hard living. But with Jourgensen in the producer's chair, the Reverend's guitar finally sounds as big and powerful as he always wanted it to be; the rod-rodded engineering and in-the-red mix makes for a loud, meaty guitar assault that merges technical finesse and physical power like Muhammad Ali, and while Jimbo Wallace's bass and Taz Bentley's drums don't undergo quite so dramatic a transformation, they display more than enough backbone to support their leader as he burns up the fretboard. Reverent Horton Heat was never your typical rockabilly act, and on Liquor in the Front he made an album that still honored the traditions of the style while kicking up more dust than he ever had before, and for sheer crank, nothing in his catalog can touch it.

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