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Put the Hammer Down

The Yayhoos

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Album Review

From its onset, Put the Hammer Down is raunchy, freewheeling fun. It's upbeat and cheerful — featuring the kind of musicianship you'd expect from the rock veterans in the band. The Yayhoos' second album opens with the dirty Southern rocker "Where's Your Boyfriend At?," a tune that's classic Dan Baird (former Georgia Satellites frontman/guitarist). From the crunchy guitar to the suggestive lyrics, it's just one of the many carefree rock songs that aim to revive and rework '70s hard rock. "Right as Rain" is another tune that's exactly what you'd expect from Baird — a catchy, melodious song that's perfect for cruising down the highway to. Just when you think you've got Put the Hammer Down figured out (the album can be somewhat predictable at times), it throws out a surprise. As on the Yayhoos' debut, Fear Not the Obvious, the group digs deep into its bag o' licks and brings out "Love Train" — a 1973 number one hit from the O'Jays (perhaps not surprising — Fear Not the Obvious featured a cover of ABBA's "Dancing Queen"). The Yayhoos handle "Love Train" perfectly and don't lose any of the original version's soul, thanks to fantastic harmonization and Baird's gritty vocals. The other random cover song on the album is found in the B-52's' "Roam." Baird's vocals are in top condition on this tune. Other tunes like "All Dressed Up," "Never Give an Inch," and the retro-twisted "Hurtin' Thing" remain in your ears days after ingestion. "Would It Kill You" is one of the album's hard rock insta-classics. It opens with a gritty guitar riff that's reminiscent of Smokin'-era Humble Pie. It gives lead guitarist Eric Ambel time to shine — though leaves the listener wishing he would have done so a little more on the album. "Anything/Everything" is the Yayhoos' own theme song — a raucous, cocky, and celebratory rock tune featuring shout-outs from each bandmember. While the song might sound a little campy if played out of order, it fits perfectly well as the eighth track, taking the band's attitude to the top. The album is a rocker, though at times a very tame one. Smoother, sentimental ballads balance the album out, like the not-so "Over the Top" (featuring the line "I'm addicted to your love and only your two arms can save me") and the sugary sweet "Between You and Me." Put the Hammer Down is a solid release from one of the best bar bands around. Put it on once for a taste, and keep coming back to it for more. It's the kind of album that'll grow on you from the kind of band that'll put a smile on your face — especially if you've had a little bit too much to drink. It's hard to imagine anyone being upset or having a bad time at a Yayhoos show — it's much easy to picture a bar full of dancing people, tripping over themselves to hug their buddies or buy drinks for complete strangers.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Made up of three singer/songwriters — Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites), Eric Ambel (the Del Lords, Eric Ambel & Roscoe's Gang), Terry Anderson (Woods), and one secret weapon, Keith Christopher (Billy Joe Shaver) — the Yayhoos set out to take over the world in 1995. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way. After a brief Southern tour with Drivin' N' Cryin' on which the band played a greatest-hits set, the boys wrote a batch of swaggering rock songs to shop around. In 1996, they...
Full Bio
Put the Hammer Down, The Yayhoos
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