Headcat Featuring Lemmy - Review

Headcat Featuring Lemmy – Review

THE HEAD CAT
Walk The Walk … Talk The Talk (CD)
Live In Berlin (CD)
Dreamcatcher (CD)

All BMG

Motorhead did not play rock’n’roll, but The Head Cat certainly did. Bassist / Vocalist Lemmy’s side project, with drummer Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats) and guitarist Danny B Harvey (The Lonesome Spurs, The Rockats), came together originally to record a track for an Elvis Presley tribute.
Rock’n’roll and subgenre rockabilly have had many a resurgence (The Stray Cats were big in the late 70s and early 80s), and this band set out to recapture that.

Walk The Walk Talk The Talk is a reissue of the band’s second studio album, originally released in 2011, and is a fine collection of rock’n’roll / blues standards with two originals thrown in for good measure. There are some classics you’ll recognise, including Shakin’ All Over and Robert Johnson’s Crossroads (think the Cream or Molly Hatchet versions, stripped down). Well worth checking out is Trying To Get To You, once a hit for Elvis Presley when he covered it, and later covered by Gillan.

Everything is solid, meaty, tight, much better produced than their first outing (which is good, but pedestrian by comparison), and, as you’d expect from anything Motorhead related, all the finesse of a motorcycle chain in need of a good oiling.
There is some solid rock’n’roll and blues, it’s what the genre was all about, and nice to have them at the front, as they were very watered down (or sandblasted over) in Motorhead’s wall of sound.

Also here are two live albums, there’s Dreamcatcher (recorded 2008) and Live In Berlin (2011).
Dreamcatcher has 18 tracks and some fine numbers, a more basic sound that suits a more intimate audience, acoustic guitar feel (this was before Lemmy switched back to bass, Motorhead style), Suzie Q, It’ll Be Me, Crossroads and Route 66 all get an airing and lovely it is too.

The Live In Berlin set, which opens with Good Rockin’ Tonight, is much heavier (nods towards Motorhead playing more authentic covers), 20 tracks of largely joy.

The Head Cat recorded far too few original numbers, and one criticism oft aimed at them is as a covers band. If that’s what you want, fine, they are great, and the albums are very enjoyable, but the strength of the originals does make you wonder why they didn’t do more.

The vinyl I have here has a good feel and sound too. Live In Berlin is a double LP, gatefold sleeve, both discs a good weight (doesn’t feel 180g), coloured vinyl. The sleeves are not poly lined, but they’re not too tight either. Walk The Walk, a single LP, has a similar weight and feel, gatefold sleeve, and black/white vinyl, collectors will enjoy.

Joe Geesin | Now Spinning Magazine

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