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Jack Rabbit Slim - Hairdos and Heartaches

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 19 / 2 / 2010

Jack Rabbit Slim - Hairdos and Heartaches
Label: Western Star
Format: CD


Superb country-influenced fourth album from pioneers of the British rockabilly movement, Jack Rabbit Slim

Being somewhat of a newcomer to the rockabilly scene, I found my eyes pricking up when I came across Jack Rabbit Slim. I am still trying to get my head around the quiffs, cars and guitars that go with the rockabilly lifestyle. I am eager to hear more and to really get a feel for this whole scene which up until recently was something which I knew very little about. Jack Rabbit Slim are one of the UK’s pioneers of this scene and are much loved up and down the country, which is one thing that really draws me to this scene, its sense of community and belonging to something different. Jack Rabbit Slim have a real 1950’s rock and roll sound to them and have much more of an old style sound than some of the more punk orientated bands that are also sometimes linked in with the rockabilly genre. That is the ‘pyscho-billy’ side of things for those not in the know. Constantly nodding to country music - think up beat Johnny Cash, alongside the likes of Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley - Jack Rabbit manage to blend all these things together and yet to sound like something completely new. They sound far more self aware and less ‘rockstar’ brat than Presley, but more worldly wise and tough than the youthfulness you get with Buddy Holly’s music. ‘‘Skin’ and ‘21st Bettie Page’ are pure ‘Sleaze-a-bill’, something that has all the regular elements of this music, but which is crammed full of sexual energy in its dirty rhythms. ‘Skin’ in particular has a rather filthy lyrical content, but you would have to give it a listen to find out what I’m talking about though. ‘I Need You’ in contrast is a far more subdued number and is in a lounge-style Elvis vein, slowing down the pace of the album to give ‘Hairdos and Heartaches’ a really rounded feel. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Bob Butfoy’s personality really shines through in his lyrics. They are heartfelt, honest and straight to the point as is also his delivery. Not trying to imitate anyone or more to the point to take on some sort of Americanised accent, he has his own style, as do his band. It is this quality to the band’s music and their whole feel that leads them to be so well thought of on the thriving UK Rockabilly scene. I couldn’t tell you if this would make you go out and dive head first into this subculture, as I’m writing from a mildly biased point of view. ‘Hairdos and Hearaches’ is on its own merits a thoroughly enjoyable album, but with my increasing, yet limited knowledge of it I can very easily see Jack Rabbit Slim’s appeal as well to the already converted. Swell!

Track Listing:-
1 Hairdos & Heartaches
2 Shake Rag
3 The Gift
4 Skin
5 Sentimentally Yours
6 I Need You
7 Every Day's Gonna Be Like Yesterday
8 Typhoon
9 The Prisoner
10 21st Century Bettie Page
11 High n Mighty
12 Time Is A Wastin'

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Interview (2010)
Jack Rabbit Slim - Interview
Adrian Huggins speaks to Bob Butfoy, the front man with rising band Jack Rabbit Slim, about his band's recently released fourth album, 'Hairdo's and Heartaches' and the revival and increasing popularity of the rockabilly movement of which his group is a part

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