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Kick Me Hard


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Album Review

NRBQ's short-lived alliance with Mercury Records resulted in one of the tightest and most consistently rockin' albums of their career, NRBQ at Yankee Stadium, but a year later they found themselves back on their own Red Rooster label, where the band relaxed and let their characteristic wit come to the forefront on 1979's Kick Me Hard. Opening with a musical look at America's drug laws as only NRBQ could interpret them ("Wacky Tobacky"), Kick Me Hard finds the Q indulging their fondness for goofiness on tunes like "It Was an Accident" (romance is complicated by unplanned pregnancy), "Things We Like to Do" (a rewrite of an old Ross Bagdasarian number in which the guys declare their fondness for miniskirts and the TV show CHiPs), and "Chores" (in which someone seems to enjoy doing their pig imitation just a bit too much). But as always, NRBQ also provides an equal amount of evidence that they're one of the most solid, soulful, and eclectic bands on the planet, running from barrelhouse R&B ("All Night Long"), rootsy rockabilly ("This Old House"), cool jazz ("Tenderly"), and other stuff that simply exists in a world all its own ("Electric Train"), with the band displaying sharp chops and tremendous charm throughout (especially guitarist Al Anderson and keyboard wizard Terry Adams). And as a bonus, you get perhaps the most remarkable version of "North to Alaska" ever captured by modern recording equipment! How can you go wrong? [The 1989 CD reissue of the album tacks on eight bonus cuts, including the free jazz workout "Welcome to Orlando" and "What Can I Say," later covered by Yo La Tengo.]


Formed: 1967 in Miami, FL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Often called "the world's greatest bar band," NRBQ are that rare group that's eclectic, stylistically innovative, and creatively ambitious while also sounding thoroughly unpretentious and accessible. At its best, NRBQ's music casually mixes up barrelhouse R&B, British Invasion pop, fourth-gear rockabilly, exploratory free jazz, and dozens of other flavors while giving it all a stomp-down rhythm that makes fans want to dance and expressing a sense of joy and easy good humor that comes straight...
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