The Kentucky Headhunters have grown over their 50 year career to be homegrown heroes in their local state. These men have dabbled in many genres over their time, even being awarded a Grammy in the process.
Despite the title of their record as On Safari, which was influenced by their time abroad in Europe, the album still pays dedicated homage to their southern home and way of life. Opening track Beaver Creek Mansion spells out “K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y” with pride, providing a rhythm-laden introduction to this blues rock album.
Second track Deep South Blues Again shows the dyanmic nature of the band, moving from stirring, anthemic choruses to traditional, plucky guitar work. Even where it’s feeling huge, the band keep it fun, which is a great achievement.
As the album continues, The Kentucky Headhunters stick closely to themes of home and lifestyle, but the record remains accessible to all. Tracks like Crazy Jim deal with what might seem banal in life, but spin it into a stirring ballad.
Lowdown Memphis Town Blues opens with one of the most jubilant riffs on the album. Though the song isn’t the fastest, nor is most of the album, the band have developed an excellent sense of pace that keeps the song rocking along. It’s a testament to the skill of the band that this relatively long album staves off any kind of boredom. It’s relaxed, honest, yet always entertaining. Jukebox Full Of Blues does pick up the pace in a jazz-infused track. It’s a great burst with some trills on the keyboard topping it off. It’s placed well in the album to keep the momentum going.
Closing track Governer’s Cup is a more morose affair, but it fits in nonetheless. It’s just like the sun is setting on the record in this instrumental track. It’s a pensive, minimalist track allowing the listener to reflect on the album; and it’s a great reflection. The Kentucky Headhunters might not be breaking much new ground with On Safari, but they’re doing what they do best, aand boy is that fun to hear?