Although one reason you may not have heard of these guys is due to their first album taking the award for “Worst named album in history” the aptly entitled The Mad Cap Adventures of The Avocado Overlord (1995), the album name and album cover were (and still are) simply unappealing and completely failed to hit the target audience that this band would have appealed. The only reason I was able to discover these guys was due to a friend who worked as a college DJ at SUNY Plattsburgh and pushed their CD my way begging me to give it a listen. Honestly, I would have scoffed at listening or buying this album if using the proverbial “judging the book by the cover”.
However, thanks to my friend this truly has remained one of my favorite albums. In turn, I’ve turned many an audiophile into a fan as well. You should be able to find this album for about $3 used these days, trust me you won’t regret your purchase.
The album begins with the song Sacrifice, a soulful song that establishes a deep groove and does a very good job introducing the bands sound. It is the perfect opener and preps the listener for the next song Bring That Wagon Round. Wagon is a mellow song that has a nice bass line that compliments the piano along with Adam Hirsch’s vocals. All three compliment each other and the song just flows just the way it should; the listener can tell right away that these guys work well together and clearly everything seems to be just happening naturally. Dig The Ribbit was the one song that seemed to gain the most amount of noteriety for the band, the bass line and the mellow Hammond B-3 organ just create a groove that makes you shake your head to while enjoying every note, again, the lyrics are well placed and the song is just absolute fun to groove along with every note. Madness of The Green takes us back to slower pace, with mellow and smooth tempos and an organ in the background that just keeps things together. Found With Your Drawers Down brings us right back to where Dig The Ribbit left off and gets the listener back into album at full momentum once again, the bridge in the song is a clever mix of classic jam band, background party noise, and even a twist of some Latin influenced rhythms, the guitars at the end take us out with a good Allman Brothers feeling. The middle of the album features songs like I Could Be The One, For Tomorrow, and Bad Side; although good in their own right they are more filler for the album, but nothing specifically mind-blowing persae.
The album picks up with the song Empty Handed, this is all Allman Brothers influenced. The beginning does a great job of setting the tone slowly and builds into a great song. You Ain’t Comin’ Home brings us back into a mellow setting with some steely guitar and slow soulful vocals once again by Hirsch, the song eventually picks up tempo and really establishes this album as solid, well written, and a keeper.
The highlight at the end of the end of the album is Sip Of Your Wine with featured guest cameo by Blues Travelers’ John Popper. The song is fun and goes on for awhile, I’m sure this was awesome to see live and I’m sure they took it in many directions when they toured together.
The Hatters were a culmination of both Allman Brother’s and Black Crowes influenced southern rhythm and blues. They would be catagorized with bands like Blues Traveler, The Spin Doctors, Government Mule, The Tragically Hip, and the long forgotten and short-lived band Xanax 25 (where are you guys?). Avocado Overlord is a solid album that is one of those rarities where nearly every song is a winner, the album is still as fresh today as it was when released over 15 years ago. The second album You Will Be You is decent as well however, Avocado Overlord is just such a fun and clever album.
If you would like to learn more about The Hatters there is a nice piece by band member Billy Jay Stien (keyboards) that reflects his thoughts and feelings about this incredible ride with the band, click here.
If you catch word of a reunion, please contact us here at HiFi Central!