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Liquor in the Front

The Reverend Horton Heat

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Album Review

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.

Biography

Born: 1959 in Corpus Christi, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Reverend Horton Heat is perhaps the most popular psychobilly artist of all time, really rivaled only by genre founders the Cramps. The Reverend (as both the three-man band and its guitar-playing frontman were known) built a strong cult following during the '90s through constant touring, manic showmanship, and a twisted sense of humor. The latter was nothing new in the world of psychobilly, and Heat's music certainly kept the trashy aesthetic of his spiritual forebears. The Reverend's true innovation...
Full Bio

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