Tag Archives: Black Diamond Heavies

435. Killdozer – “For Lovers Only”

I’ve reviewed a couple of albums where one artist covers a variety of standards, but none quite compare to this collection from Killdozer.

The choice of songs is a starting point – ‘classics’ from Bad Company, Deep Purple, Elvis, Steve Miller and Don McLean among others.  All 1970s FM fodder of the highest (or should that be lowest order).

And then there’s the Killdozer sound.  Vocalist Michael Gerald has an unmistakable growl that presages the sound I love from the Black Diamond Heavies.  Behind that is some delightfully dirty, sloppy but pounding garage rock  (that preempted that whole ‘grunge’ thing).

This is dirge-rock with a huge serving of humour and irony.  The band actually sticks pretty close to the originals in terms of tempo, but just turn up the dial on the swampy campness and screaming guitars.  The production is surprisingly adept (although perhaps not that surprising when you note it’s Butch Vig at the desk).

This is worth owning to hear American Pie get taken to its logical, ridiculous singalong end, and the Burning Love Elvis should have produced.

Alas, I can find no vids from this album, but someone’s done a great job of overddubbing a Deep Purple clip with the Killdozer cover:

File under: Not just for cover lovers

275. Black Diamond Heavies – “Alive as Fuck”

So my better half is off in Adelaide for work for a couple of days.  While there she’s managing to catch The Gossip playing the side show they haven’t deigned to bless Melbourne with.

Album cover black diamond heavies alive as fuck vinylI am at home frantically trying to get through a backlog of subject preparation before uni starts again.  What better way to perk up this pretty miserable Thursday night, than with some spinning blue vinyl from the Black Diamond Heavies?

I picked this limited edition LP up a few months back.  It was recorded at a show in some Kentucky Masonic Lodge. 

It doesn’t contain much in the way of new material, and certainly no new sound.  The vibe is still filthy, garage, funk blues. The voice is gravelly, the drums are pounding, that cocaine is still causing troubles.

Somehow the recording quality of this release is better than their earlier studio efforts. The result is oh so seductive and inspiring. In particular I want to see these guys live again… c’mon down lads:

File under: It’s great to be alive

226. The Detroit Cobras – “Baby”

Back I return to the big party that is the Detroit Cobras recorded output.

This CD offers even more bang for your hard-earned, as it contains a full album, plus an earlier 7 track EP (hence two album covers).

The party here is a little more sedate and chilled than the earlier soirees. There are more slower, soul tracks and a little less rock-n-roll.

That is a shame, as the garage efforts have been (and are) typically the more vital and engaging tracks on their albums.

Actually, most of the feistier tunes are on the EP section of the CD, so if you buy the UK version of Baby you may be getting a CD much closer to a Bettye LaVette release than the usual Southern Culture on the Skids-ish fiesta.

Of course, both of this comparisons are compliments.

A favourite car game of my missus and I is to build fantasy music festivals and great gig lineups. My one for today is these Cobras, and the aforementioned SCOTS, with perhaps the Black Diamond Heavies as the bridging sound… that’d work a treat.

File under: Partisome progreny

74. Black Diamond Heavies- “Every Damn Time”

There’s some great bio info on the back sleeve of this debut outing.  It turns out that the drummer in this duo comes from a bourbon-distilling family.  Meanwhile, the singer/organist is the literal “son of a preacher man”.  That sounds like the perfect pairing for grimey, soul-tinged rock. 

black-diamond-heavies-every-damn-time-album-coverAs I said in my earlier review of their follow-up, these guys have taken a time-honoured genre and made it all seem new and exciting and dangerous again.  

This album is about as lo-fi as I can tolerate.  The tracks were pretty much recorded directly into a two-track, with only a little bit of horns added in later.  They’ve done a great job of it.  It feels like you standing in the room dodging the sweat as it flies.

The vocals sound just as Waits-ey as on album #2, and the drums and organ work perfectly in unison.  The tales are real and raw, especially the powerful White Bitch.

They are quickly becoming the band that excites me most.  See them live. Buy their stuff. Love them like me. Here are a couple more tracks from them: 

File under: Kick-Arse and Life-Affirming

70. Black Diamond Heavies – “A Touch of Someone Else’s Class”

We interrupt our Black Crowes run with a short stroll over to the record rack for our weekend vinyl spinning session.


Here’s an album which just wouldn’t sound right delivered via CD, or heaven forbid, as a download.

This duo from somewhere in the south of the US have been hailed as doing for soul what The Black Keys (coming soon) did for blues, i.e. dragging it kicking and screaming into the 21st century with a determined dirtiness. That recommendation was enough for me to buy their two releases, and to seek them out when they supported the Datsuns in Melbourne last December.

The sound here is damn filthy. The lead singer has one of those ‘lived extremely hard’ voices. At times this could be a younger, skinnier Tom Waits belting out the tunes while bashing the hell out of an organ. Alongside this, the drummer rides his cymbals in a similar fashion to Patrick from the aforementioned Keys.

This is wonderul, visceral, shake you-to-your-bones music. It can only be played loud. The cover of Nutbush City Limits on here would make Ike very very happy (and kill most wedding reception crowds). Further reworkings of Nina Simone and T-Model Ford numbers give further guidance to their lineage.

This is brilliant. Please buy it. Here’s a further taster:

File under: Not polished but so precious