As guitarist/singer/songwriter for Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen during the '70s, Bill Kirchen turned out many a classic riff, the most famous of which was "Hot Rod Lincoln," the old Tex Ritter song, updated and rocked up by Kirchen's guitar. With Raise a Ruckus, Kirchen brings his rockabilly guitar to center stage with a 14-song collection that is sure to please his fans the world over. The title track has a real Bob Dylan feel to it, with original lyrics by Kirchen that rival any of those penned by the great Zimmerman, and tunes like "Girlfriend" and "Fly on Your Jacket" evoke happy memories of the "Lost in the Ozone" kind. "Man in the Bottom of the Well" slows things down a bit with more of Kirchen's well thought-out lyrics and tasty guitar work, while "Little Bitty Record" bops along with a genuine rockabilly heart. "Big Hat, No Cattle" is a Texas swing ditty that would surely make the late Bob Wills smile and say, "Aw, play it boys!" Kirchen pulls out his trombone for "Dreamworld," a country romp with some Tex-Mex undertones. Johnny Castle on bass and Jack O'Dell on drums are the perfect compliment for Kirchen, as evident on "She's a Yum-Yum" and the R&B-influenced "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own." "Living Dangerously" rocks, and "True Love's the Treasure" is a very nice country duet featuring Bill and his wife, Louise; "Interstate" closes the set with a sound very reminiscent of Commander Cody's old treasures. Raise a Ruckus is a fun album for anyone who has followed Kirchen's career, but it is equally enjoyable for those who have missed out on hearing this rockabilly guitar man's work.
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AllMusic Review by Michael B. Smith