Hi-Fi Stereo

Hi-Fi Stereo

Jim Heath, the “Reverend Horton” Heat, slowed his release schedule to a trickle in the 2000s, offering up a holiday album in 2005 (We Three Kings, and finally in 2008 delivering a Hammond B-3 organ heavy collection of instrumental covers (“Bim Bam Baby” and “Ain’t That A Kick in the Head” are the rare vocal moments). Heath’s songwriting muse may be leaving him waiting, but his instrumental chops remain solid and his irreverent sense of humor pokes out at the most unexpected times. “Booker T and the MG’s “Can’t Be Still” suddenly shifts to Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” midway through, while Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror” lathers up in an extra layer of psycho-billy, b-movie grease as Heath’s tremolo-ed surf guitars do battle with Todd Alexander’s haunted house organ riffs. The trio’s elemental flexibility coupled with the deliberate simplicity of the arrangements makes every note count. The playing is dexterous but left to three pieces with no excessive walls of guitars or superfluous overdubs. Duane Eddy, the James Bond theme, Nelson Riddle’s “Theme To Route 66,” Duke Ellington, and Ray Charles are all blended into one raucous jam.

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