This May sees the third in a series of charity oriented tribute albums by Memphis-based band Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre. Previously the band has paid homage to Johnny Cash through Five Minutes To Live and in Mutants Of The Monster: A Tribute to Black Oak Arkansas embraced one of the outfit’s big inspirations. Heirs of the Dog: A Tribute to Nazareth is the band’s take on another major passion and the Scottish hard rocker’s 1975 iconic double platinum LP Hair of the Dog, and like its predecessors it uncages great sounds for the support of a very worthy cause.
Led by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Joey “Joecephus” Killingsworth, Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre “features a small cast of rotating characters”, bassist Brian Costner and drummer Daryl Stephens regulars, and as its predecessors, the new album equally hosts an array of guests. With co-producer and co-mastermind Dik LeDoux, Killingsworth has create a beast of a release which hits the spot with predacious intent, and like so many of his band’s own records and those tributes before it, leaves ears feasting on rock ‘n’ roll which just leaves you in a better place.
With all its profits, in memory of Jonelle Spicer going to The FSHD Society for fshd muscular dystrophy research, Heirs of the Dog opens with Hair of the Dog with Blaine Cartwright of Nashville Pussy featuring on vocals. As across the release, the band closely relates to the original but there is no escaping the distinct style of Killingsworth grooves and riffs or the great almost feral and again individual breath of the band as a whole. As the song entices and roars, surprises are few yet freshness is in full flow, that union a great sheen to the classic incitement.
The following pair of Miss Misery and Love Hurts sees Nashville Pussy’s Ruyter Suys on vocals being joined in the fiery first by slide guitarist Greg Martin from Kentucky Headhunters and in its successor by vocalist Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers. Both songs hit the spot, their respective sizzle and melancholic seduction easily feasted upon with the latter a rich captivation from guitar to vocal duet.
As the likes of Changin’ Times, with vocalist Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys, Ignitor) and former Nazareth guitarist and the producer of that original album Manny Charlton involved, and Beggar’s Day firmly take their share of keen attention it is inescapable the quality of the original songwriting which will make these songs to anyone unfamiliar with Nazareth one fresh and potent proposal time and time again. With Killingsworth taking lead vocals, the second of the pair especially hit the spot, the organ of Gerald Stephens offering another alluring hue to the infectious rocker.
JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers, Honky, Melvins) and Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) bring their lures to next up Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman, yet another well-known and loved track given a fresh spark here with Neil Fallon of Clutch gracing the exceptional Please Don’t Judas Me, easily our favourite track on the release. Everyone involved brings a new take and fresh proposal to the song to create one truly striking moment in the already compelling encounter.
Completed by Guilty, pianist and vocalist Harvey McLaughlin providing an individual plaintive swing to the song, Heirs of the Dog is one loudly recommended and richly enjoyed adventure. With a big nod to the numerous other musicians going to make its captivation, it is a must for Nazareth fans and newcomers alike as well as all those already bitten by the Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre bug; and importantly all for a great cause.
Heirs of the Dog: A Tribute to Nazareth is released digitally and in CD and vinyl May 21st @ https://joecephus.bandcamp.com/album/heirs-of-the-dog-a-tribute-to-nazareth
Discover and support The FSHD Society further @ https://www.fshdsociety.org/
Pete RingMaster 04/05/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review