Album Review – Lucky Tubb’s Hillbilly Fever
Wow. Well if you head isn’t already spinning from the caliber of recent REAL country music releases, it will be now. Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours team up with the legendary Wayne “The Train” Hancock for an old school comic book style dynamic duo one two punch to the gut of mainstream pop country frappety crap! This is country music for the rest of us. This is music for the folks that “get it.” Hillbilly Fever is sick. It’s the disease you need, so catch it, and then spread it like a bad rash!
With Hillbilly Fever Lucky keeps his tradition alive of making very traditional-sounding albums, and that’s why inviting Wayne Hancock on for a couple of tracks makes perfect sense. Yeah the spoon fed will spit this out as being “too hokey” but who needs them and their GAP reproduction pearl snaps made in China? Feed ’em fish heads, this is country music the way we like it.
Lucky starts off with an original called “Ramblin,” which despite the “Rambin’ Man” wishing well being tapped so many times in music Steve Martin parodied it no less than 35 years ago, this song still works on me.
“Well I’ve been a rambin’, I’ve been a gamblin’
Walking the blade of a double edged knife
8 stale Cheetos, half dead burritos
Drinkin’ beer for breakfast just to stay alive.”
“Ramblin” sets the table for what is an album with very smart and tasteful arrangement, and hits the bulls-eye when it comes to setting the tempo. Subtle organ makes a soft bed for the song and drives home the rhythm at the end of phrases, while Casey “The Barber” Gill’s thumping standup is like a pacemaker for the easy-living country heart.
Just like Lucky’s last one, this album features songs from the Tubb bloodline. Glenn Tubb, maybe one of the most prolific and underrated songwriters of all time, contributes “You Sure Look Lonesome,” and “Tired of What You Don’t Do,” and Talmage chimes in with “Blue Monday Blues.” Listening to these songs I am reminded that Lucky is not just a fresh character in the underground country scene, he is also the latest, if not last in the Tubb country music lineage to carry a banner that honestly is not ballyhooed near enough.
There’s also plenty of reminders that this isn’t just Lucky, but a fully stocked tank of talent behind him in the Troubadours. Natalie Page writes and sings “Honky Tonkin’ Is All We Got,” which despite its retro setting, carries an all too modern theme about being in a fun relationship with no soul, but sung by Natalie with soul aplenty. I also can’t say enough about Casey Gill on bass, who is true soul of the band.
The Wayne Hancock duet’s of the old George Vaughn tune “Hillbilly Fever” and the Lucky/Hancock co-written “West” make this album worth ponying up for if nothing else does. Sure there’s the oddity of the two artists collaborating, but the collaboration just works. Some may think since both artist work in traditional ways, what’s the difference? “West” really points that out the differences as it bridges the two styles, with the bass line and lyrics more like a Hancock song than one by Lucky.
Sure, the average consumer couldn’t tell the difference. But like a seasoned bird watcher who appreciates the subtleties between the male and female of a species, watching the two artists bridge styles, Hancock’s being more Hank Williams blended with Texas swing, and Lucky’s being more Tubby/Lefty/Hank Snow mix, is exciting for all of us old school fogey fools born in the wrong era. Hancock is solid as always, and after touring with Hank III last year and now this album, Lucky has officially courted two of the three names that in the early oughts made the triumvirate of REAL country, Dale Watson being the last to tackle.
My favorite songs on the album, just like on his last album Damn The Luck, are the tunes that Lucky wrote himself. “Ramblin” and “Not At All,” are the standouts for me. Lucky has a unique cadence and delivery of his lyrics that is most present when you see him live, and when he sings his own songs. That vocal delivery is really what sets him apart, and is his unique talent.
The production by James Stevens is excellent, but there were a few times I thought it was a little heavy handed, with some of the backing vocals and with the weird chorus-like moaning on “You Sure Look Lonesome.”
Also as I was nearing the end of this album, I was thirsting for some more variety. Well right on cue Lucky delivers a shot right out of left field with the ghost track that I’m told by my insiders is called “Rain.” This is a super cool Tom Waits-esque shift in gears that adds a whole new dynamic to Lucky, and this album. Alone the song maybe apes Waits more that being Lucky’s take on his style, but as a hidden track, I give it more latitude. Put this song in the middle of the album and it goes over like a poop in a punch bowl. Bury it at the end, and it completes it.
His last album Damn The Luck I thought had a few better songs, but I think this is a better album.
GET THE HILLBILLY FEVER !!
Hillbilly Fever is exclusively available through lonestarmusic.com. You can purchase it and preview tracks by CLICKING HERE.
J. Bair Ft. Wayne,IN.
June 2, 2010 @ 12:51 pm
L. Tubb to me is hands down one of the best damn bands out there. Looking forward to the new album!
June 2, 2010 @ 1:22 pm
yupper ought to be a good’n… good work trigger…
June 2, 2010 @ 3:21 pm
I just ordered “Damn the Luck”, so I’ll have to wait on this one. I would have bought “Damn the Luck” ages ago, but I couldn’t figure out where to purchase it until “Hillbilly Fever” came out. Then I had to decide which to buy. This is certainly high on my list though! Hillbilly fever’s goin’ round!
June 2, 2010 @ 4:08 pm
Got mine few days agoand love it. I have all 3 of Lucky’s cds and this one has became my favorite. I agree with you Triggerman on the hidden track it was damn good, and a great way to end the album. Natalie neds to do a cd on her own she sounds real good, love the sound she has.
June 2, 2010 @ 5:39 pm
Great review, Kyle!Looking forwad to hearing it ….
June 2, 2010 @ 6:12 pm
I love it from beginning to end.Yeah track 11 is a totally tripped out – I love it – cool way to end the CD .Also got “Generations” recently another great buy.I definitly got Hillbilly Fever!!!
June 2, 2010 @ 9:52 pm
Still don’t have Generations myself. Was gonna get it, then when I heard this was coming out I figured I’d wait.
June 3, 2010 @ 5:30 am
Generations is a great cd you will like it. I have one of the first releases of it I found on ebay back in december. Going to order a remastered version of it also.
June 3, 2010 @ 5:31 am
this one is going straight to the top of my music to buy list. thanks again, triggerman.
David Lee is gotta get altered before going to work
June 3, 2010 @ 9:31 am
Gonna order this shit today so I can’t ellaborate … Lucky and them sound good. I like the way his voice hangs out after the words our versed. The thing is, not many around today have the balls to make music like this, much less make it work for them.
June 4, 2010 @ 10:47 pm
“NUFF SAID”, Thanks for the review…guess it’s time to git’er done!
June 8, 2010 @ 11:26 am
Well I got “Damn the Luck” a couple days ago, and now I’m gonna have to order “Hillbilly Fever”! I knew this shit would be good, but I didn’t know I’d wear out the first disc in three days! Alright, maybe not. But Lucky has a new BIG fan in myself.
Kinda wish I could have seen him open for Hank III this spring, but it’s all good.
June 9, 2010 @ 5:35 am
Nice Review… I Love This Sound! As a country artist myself… it’s very refreshing to see groups doing their own thing and doin’ with balls.., no pretense, just get out there and get er done …
June 9, 2010 @ 4:30 pm
Lucky is going to be in OKC tomorrow night 6-10…..if you’re in the area get yer ass out there.
Derek, The .357 String Band
June 10, 2010 @ 9:48 pm
We just recently got added to the bill with Lucky Tubb in Detroit – 6-17, at PJ’s Lager House. Hope to see everyone out…
Derek, The .357 String Band
July 5, 2010 @ 12:36 pm
I got a chance to hang with Lucky at his show here last week. He’s such a great guy. I told him the hidden track “Looks Like Rain” at the end is my favorite. He told me they whipped that out at the end because there were a few minutes left on the tape. Good God, that’s talent! With each new project of his, I become more a fan.
He’ll be back in November and I’ll keep an eye out for details.
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September 28, 2011 @ 2:20 pm
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