I was pretty excited when I picked up the recent release from The Reverend Horton Heat Laughin’ and Cryin’ on iTunes. I got into Revho about 10 years ago when I saw them at a club called The Paradise in Boston; Nashville Pussy warmed up and it was an unforgettable show; no doubt I was hooked that night. At that time they were basically touring to support the release of Holy Roller which was their first “best of” album (an album I highly recommend if you want to get into Revho!).
Laughin’ and Cryin’ takes the Reverand Horton Heat listener back to Smoke em’ If You Got em’ (1991) days. It is very reminiscent of that album and that it why I like this album, nostalgic all the way. Laughin’ and Cryin’ contains elements of country, rock-n-roll, rockabilly, and hardcore “punkabilly” that really put Revho on the map in the first place. The first song Drinkin’ and Smokin’ Cigarettes sets a great tempo for the album, and each song that follows compliments the next. Ain’t No Saguaro in Texas , basically the Rev’s attempt to recreate Marijuana for this album, although its not a replacement it’s a decent song none the less. Death Metal Guys is a great song and reflects that The Rev has not forgot how to kick the band into high gear and produce a killer rockabilly song. I would say that this might be the best rockabilly song since Generation Why off of the long forgotten album It’s Martini Time (1996).
To listen to a sample of The Reverand Horton Heat’s Drinkin’ and Smokin’ Cigarettes click here.
Songs like Don’t Take the Baby to the Liqour Store and There’s a Little Bit of Everything in Texas are classic Revho signature songs; songs like these can be found on most of the other albums they have done before. It’s not a negative aspect of the album, instead it simply reflects that the same formula the Rev has used in past albums still sounds cool. Some reviews from other listeners have labeled this album as “too country” and to a degree they are right; Laughin’ and Cryin’ does offers quite a mellow assortment of songs, yet I like that and think you will too. The mellow songs actually provide a nice balance for the album and supports some of the stronger rockabilly songs. All in all, it’s a really decent album yet does not indicate a new direction for The Rev and his music.
At this time in the Rev’s career he’s got nothing to prove to nobody and he knows it. The band has a very loyal fan base and they’re known for a relentless touring schedule that makes every fan happy (hey, what’s not to like since they usually come to your town twice a year!).
Clearly, the Rev is making the music that makes him happy. He’s not looking for a homerun breakthrough album and I think he’s pretty comfortable with his current label YepRoc Records.
Revho is the crown jewel of the rockabilly scene and has been for many years. Without question all rockabilly bands today will agree that The Reverand Horton Heat is the standard that they all aspire to be like; yes, Revho is just that good. The Rev is currenly on tour and if you have never had a chance to see him, spend the $15 and go, you won’t be dissapointed, trust me.
The Reverend Horton Heat’s Laughin’ and Cryin’ gets 4 out of 5 stars.