Thursday, June 12, 2008

Born to Be Wilder reviewed by Mark Thompson

Born to be Wilder
Webb Wilder & the Beatniks
Blind Pig Records
15 tracks/56:21

This release comes blasting out of your speakers right from the start with "Tough it Out," a rocker with plenty of sizzling guitar riffs. Wilder handles the lead vocals and guitar. His band features two other guitar players, creating a musical buzzsaw that delivers one stellar performance after another.

Be advised that the lone blues track is a cover of "Baby Please Don't Go," with Wilder describing his in-person encounter with Big Joe Williams, who wrote this classic. The band's rendition owes more to the Amboy Dukes than anything Big Joe ever envisioned. Wilder turns in definitive performances of some of his own tunes, especially "Human Cannonball" and "How Long Can She Last." Both cuts feature Wilder's wacky sense of humor and plenty of rockin' guitar sounds.

On "If You're Looking for a Fool," the band shows it is equally adept at handling a country-styled weeper. The guitars get a workout on the instrumental "Sputnik," that revisits the surf music tradition. Another highlight is a rousing version of Ian Hunter's rocker, "Big Time."

Webb Wilder is not a household name but you will be a converted fan before you reach the end of this disc. Recorded at a club in Alabama, this is one of those shows that make you wish you could have been there. It may not be blues but it certainly is one smoking set - and truly a rockin' good time !!!!

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