It has been over three years since the psychobilly blast of Reverend Horton Heat’s last studio offering, Revival. Since then, The Rev (aka Jim Heath) has been doing what he was born to do, touring the world non-stop and preaching the rockabilly gospel to sold-out crowds. With flawless, mind-bending chops Heath anoints the faithful with his vintage Gretsch, somehow managing to satiate his fans thirst for more studio material from the man who brought the world The Reverend Horton Heat.
With Hi-Fi Stereo, the first album from his new side project Reverend Organdrum, the long wait is over.
Always looking to expand his musical vocabulary, Reverend Organdrum is the result The Reverend Horton Heat (aka Jim Heath) giving in to his love of vintage roots music and his growing obsession with Hammond B-3 organs. Says The Rev, “I had really started to develop a ‘thing’ for Hammond organ music. Sure, I had always loved Booker T. & the MG’s. I had a great respect for Jimmy Smith and other jazz and rock organists. But, beyond that, I had decided that Hammond’s were just too cool, and maybe I should get into this sound a bit more.”
On the way to a relaxing day of golf with RHH studio collaborator, legendary keyboardist and musical mentor Tim Alexander (Asleep at the Wheel), Heath expressed an interest in improving his legendary guitar skills. Alexander immediately thought of gigs he had done around Texas with a just a drummer and a guitar player. With Alexander holding down the bass parts with his left hand and feet, the music had natural space for some serious guitar explorations. Tim remarks, “There’s a million trios in Texas, nearly all are guitar, bass and drums. With our line-up of guitar, organ and drums, we’ve got a fuller, unique sound with a lot more possibilities.” The group’s rhythm section is filled out by Texas drummer Todd Soesbe on drums. To force Heath’s hand, and therefore guitar, even further, the combo decided to explore some out of the ordinary (for them) roots music styles, most of which the world has never heard flow from the fingers of The Reverend Horton Heat.
Style-wise, Hi-Fi Stereo contains as Alexander puts it, “…everything and the kitchen sink.” Heath adds, “This combo has given me an outlet for a lot of different, yet ‘vintage’ styles. Blues, TV and movie themes, swing, standards, New Orleans-style soul, jazz and surf make up a lot of our sound. Our repertoire is very similar to the repertoire of many groups from the early to middle sixties.” The Reverend and company have hand-picked their favorite vintage tracks to cover for Hi-Fi Stereo. From Booker T. & the MG’s to Bill Doggett, the band winds its way through the American musical canon. Like everything Jim Heath has ever done, Hi-Fi Stereo is always hip, always rockin’, always The Rev.