The Kentucky Headhunters - "On Safari" [Album Review]

- Nov 03, 2016 at 02:59AM
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Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Having been a fan of these Southern icons for a number of years - and having recently seen them live (they came to the UK for the very first time back in July) - I can vouch for their brilliance. The 12-track On Safari is the constantly-touring-quartet's 11th studio album and their first since 2015's Meet Me in Bluesland, a collaborative effort with the late Johnnie Johnson.

"Beaver Creek Mansion", the opening song, has that classic 'down home' feel, the kind of chilled-out groove, with a soaring lead guitar and big chorus vibe that later influenced the likes of Blackberry Smoke, The Black Crowes and Drive-By Truckers. These masters of their art (lead guitarist/vocalist Greg Martin, bass guitarist/vocalist Doug Phelps, drummer/vocalist Fred Young and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Richard Young) successfully keep up the early momentum on the second track, "Deep South Blues Again". For a group who've been around as long as they have, the Headhunters play with real passion and verve and this is instantly apparent on songs like "Caught in a Dream" and "Way Down Yonder" as well as on more reflective moments like the grizzled "Crazy Jim" and the soulful "Lowdown Memphis Town Blues".

Other standout moments are the gloriously uplifting "Rainbow Shine" and the Skynyrd-esque "Way Down Yonder". Southern rock has always had a strong element of country and rockabilly and the instrumental "Govenors Cup", which I feel rather fits that description, is a fine way to end the proceedings.

As one of the few bands of its type (with at least three original members still in the lineup) who started out in the late 1960s still going strong, we should be grateful at this point for any new material - and I am. Why mess with a winning formula, especially if that formula is classic Southern rock?

On Safari Track Listing:

01. Beaver Creek Mansion
02. Deep South Blues Again
03. I Am the Hunter
04. Caught in a Dream
05. Crazy Jim
06. Big Time
07. Lowdown Memphis Town Blues
08. Rainbow Shine
09. Way Down Yonder
10. Jukebox Full of Blues
11. God Loves a Rolling Stone
12. Govenors Cup

Run Time: 39:29
Release Date: November 04, 2016

Check out the On Safari EPK

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