Sunday, May 20, 2012

CD Review: “Damn Good Time” by The Nighthawks”

Damn Good Time

Damn Good Time!

This one’s a roots rocker with that blues driven sound that drove the ‘50s into the history books and gave birth to rock and roll as we know it. It’s seminal, it’s organic and The Nighthawks have been doing it for 40 years.

Formed in 1972, the Nighthawks underwent several personnel changes before stabilizing as the lineup of Mark Wenner (vocals and harmonica), Jimmy Thackery (lead guitar), Jan Zukowski (bass guitar), and Pete Ragusa (drums). Their 1979 album, Full House, issued on Adelphi Records, had guest appearances from Muddy Waters' sidemen, Pinetop Perkins and Bob Margolin.

Keyboard player Greg Wetzel joined the band in 1983, was a full-time member until 1986, and has continued to play at special performances as an "alumni" of the band. The membership of the band remained stable until 1986. At that time, tired of the band's extensive touring schedule, Thackery departed to front his own groups, most recently the Drivers.  Following his departure, several players filled the lead guitar spot. These included Jimmy Nalls, Warren Haynes, Danny Morris, Pete Kanaras, with Kanaras becoming the longest lasting member. The band currently consist of the original Nighthawk himself, Mark Wenner (vocals and harmonica), Paul Bell (lead guitar), Johnny Castle (bass guitar), and with Mark Stutso replacing longtime drummer Pete Ragusa.

“Minimum Wage” The Nighthawks

Whether it’s blues, soul, good ole rock and roll, or R&B, they got you covered. The Nighthawks have always been great at digging out those obscure tunes from back in the day, and treating them oh so right. Then there is the originals that’ll put a swivel in your hips and have you slicking your hair back.

They are, as usual, touring extensively behind this release, which seems like a ‘part 2’ of their 2010 award winning release, Last Train To Bluesville, which grabbed the Best Acoustic Blues Album at the Blues Foundation ceremonies in May 2011. In the fall they’ll be going to Europe, but for the rest of the summer they are American road warriors. Check their website for schedules and if you get a chance to catch them live, well don’t pass it up.



The Dirty Lowdown

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