Thursday, 30 December 2010

JOHNNY HUNKINS - "Talladega Pile-Up" (CD)

Man, this new bunch of Grooveyard releases must be one of the best collection of discs in years! Besides Vince Hawkins, Gugun Power Trio, the Stranger compilation and the never failing Blind Side Blues Band, here’s Jonny Hunkins! Just like Hawkins, Hunkins is a multi instrumentalist, handling bass, guitars, keyboard, harmonica and vocals himself with the additional aid of drummer Ryan Hoyle (Paul Rodgers/Collective Soul). It actually quite hard to believe it is the debut of this American blues rock cat. He sounds like he’s been doing this all his life. Besides being a damn fine guitarist and singer, Johnny is the editor of a hot rod magazine. I swear at times I can hear his guitar being routed through a rumbling V8! Hunkins ain’t your average straight ahead blues rocker, I’d say his style has picked up influences from all over the place. There’s stuff that reminds me a bit of Molly Hatchet, at times I hear some ZZ Top, while some songs draw near the territory of Michael Katon. Take a song like “Floyd County Bootleg” with its detuned heavy riffing, followed by yet another shit-kickin’ down and dirty tractor pulling blues rock crusher in “Over The Edge”. Where he even adds some banjo and harmonica for good measures. Let’s however go back to the beginning with the title track, a fast pace boogie rocker where the verse riff actually reminds me of my own song “Howl For Me”, recorded by BALLS (, not that Johnny has probably ever heard it, but I guess great minds think alike (*wink* *wink*). The album features guest spots from people like Wes Jeans, Chris Duarte and Ryan McGarvey. Well, truth be told, Johnny needs no help whatsoever! Just check out to his phenomenal soloing in “Rock ‘N Roll Party”. The song may be a heads down, no nonsense rocker, but listen to that guitar wail! Holy crap! These cool licks just keep flying out! As I said earlier this is no musically streamlined production, which is proved already in third track “Catch Me”, which is more of a classic hard rocker with a southern touch to it. “Henry Jackson” has some ZZ Top:ish Billy Gibbons flavour to the rhythm guitar work. The production of the album, by Johnny himself, is also worth mentioning. Sounds great! Well, I won’t go into every song, I will just state the fact that there’s not a weak song on this album and I hope this album will also break Hunkins in the world outside of cars. He sure as hell deserves it!
Janne Stark
Label: Grooveyard Records (
Country: USA
Year: 2011

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