After exposing the world to the special magic of Hasil Adkins with the epochal 1986 compilation Out to Hunch, which gathered the best of ten years of Cheeze-Whiz-encrusted home recordings on to one LP, the masterminds at Norton Records subjected Hasil to the rigors of modern recording equipment for the first time in 1986, during the sessions that spawned the album The Wild Man. Like on his previous recordings, The Wild Man featured Hasil singing, playing the guitar, and stomping out the beat on the drums all at once, though Miriam Linna from the A-Bones contributes some manic percussion on "Chicken Flop" and her bandmates join in on three other tracks. Thankfully, though, the presence of occasional musical assistance and an actual recording engineer did nothing to hold Adkins back, and if these cuts aren't quite as memorable as the stuff on Out to Hunch (there isn't a track here quite as amazing as the masterful "She Said"), Adkins had mellowed very, very little with the passage of time, and "Big Red Satellite," "Wild Wild Friday Night," "Punchy Wunchy Wickey Wackey Woo" and the title cut are as frantic as you could hope for. And if anything, the presence of a few slower, country-influenced numbers like "Still Missing You" and Merle Haggard's "Turning Off a Memory" only add to the depth of Hasil's deep-fried Southern eccentricity, suggesting there is a heart and soul behind this foothills fireball obsessed with meat, peanut butter and "the Hunch." Strange, mesmerizing, and utterly essential. Norton's 2005 CD reissue of The Wild Man tacks on five bonus tracks and a remarkable liner essay from Billy Miller, who discusses his adventures as Hasil's manager, tourmate and provider of lodging.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming