A solid, if a bit uninspired, effort, The Hillbilly Blues Cats teams Book Binder with harp player Rock Bottom and bassist Billy Ochoa. Together the trio make their way through oft-forgotten blues chestnuts such as "One Meatball" and "Tired of Bein' Mistreated," as well as the occasional Binder composition thrown in for good measure. A talented guitarist who studied under Rev. Gary Davis and Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Binder's music on this album suffers the fate of many modern day blues traditionalists -- that is, allowing the audience to ask the question "Why not just listen to the original?" Recording a song like "Statesboro Blues," which everyone from the Allman Brothers to Taj Mahal have done better, only furthers the point. Though he is a fine reproducer of old-time country blues, on Hillbilly Blues Cats Binder has yet to find the key to making his music sound like more than just a reproduction.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Kurutz