March 09, 2004

Willie Heath Neal "Live From Somewhere Unknown"

I foolishly lost the cardboard cover to this CD and until the past day or two I had no idea about the tracklisting here. But the more I listened, it didn't really matter, because I think that having that tracklisting would have ruined the live show feel of this set. Sure, I didn't know the songs, but when I go to a club to see a band I've never heard before, I'm not gonna know their setlist, either. This is a great recording of a live show by Wille Heath Neal, a practiioner of the best music in the world: straight up rockabilly with a heapen helpin' of Country & Western. Fast paced--I mean, we're talking about the same kind of intensity as the Ramones here--and funny as shit, Live From Somewhere Unknown shows that Neal and company are no slouches. Though they brag about it on such songs as "Honky Tonk Nighttime Man" and "Backwoods, Country, White Trash," they're just havin' fun. The recording's great, the band's on fire, and, hell, you can even smell the beer and tobacco on Neal's breath! Fourteen songs of red-hot traditional country (none of that loser Contemporary crap) is ALWAYS welcome in my house. (I haven't felt this much power since the day I saw the late, great Country Dick Montana--who Neal sounds an awful lot like, by the way. They do some killer covers of Ernest Tubb's "Thanks a Lot" and Johnny Cash's "Big River," too. This is just some downright great stuff!

--Joseph Kyle

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