Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The Nighthawks - Side Pocket Shot (1977 us, stunning blues rock, roots 'n' roll)

The Nighthawks are the quintessential bar band, loud and gritty with occasional flashes of grace. This third effort for locally distributed Adelphi Records showcases the band's talent as well as its limitations.

Having gained a sizeable following in Atlanta, Boston, and New YorK. At the core, though, the Nighthawks still have juke joint moxie and this album is in that vein.

"Are You Ready (For Me Baby)" is a reworking of the old rhythm-and-blues tune which the group adapts to its chew-'em-up-spit-'em-out delivery. Jim Thackery immediately establishes his credentials as one of this area's top guitarists, and vocals are raw and effective. All that is immediately neutralized in the next track, a poor interpretation of Larry Williams's "Slow Down". This one may suffer by comparison since a lot of bands - including the Beatles - have recorded it. Still, the sluggish rhythm and thin singing make this version expendable.
by Mark Kernis, October 9, 1977
1. Are You Lonely (For Me Baby) (Bert Berns) - 4:36
2. Slow Down (Larry Williams) - 2:52
3. I Keep Cryin' - 4:20
4. James' Hawaiian Punch - 1:54
5. Honkey Tonk Queen - 2:58
6. I'll Get the News - 3:53
7. Tramp on the Highway - 4:12
8. Love's so Hard (To Understand) - 4:30
9. Vaseline Machine No. 2 (Leo Kottke) - 1:53
10.Fatback Mama - 3:30
11.Bring It on Home (Willie Dixon) - 3:02
All songs by Mark Wenner, Jimmy Thackery, Jan Zukowski, Pete Ragusa except where stated

The Nighthawks
*Jimmy Thackery - Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Wenner - Harmonica, Vocals
*Jan Zukowski - Bass 
*Pete Ragusa - Drums
*Rick Anderson - Percussion
*Tommy Hannum - Pedal Steel Guitar 
*David Maxwell - Piano
*The Rhythm Kings - Horns
*Lucile Schoettle - Vocals