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Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods

Bill KirchenAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Price: $16.74 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods + Hot Rod Lincoln + Seeds & Stems
Price for all three: $47.57

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 30, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Proper Records Us
  • ASIN: B000H9I10U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,031 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods
2. Rocks Into Sand
3. Ge A Little Goner
4. Skid Row In My Mind
5. Working Man
6. Soul Crusin'
7. Truth Be Told
8. Devil With The Blues Dress
9. One More Day
10. Heart Of Gold
11. If It's Really Got To Be This Way

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From his pivotal role in Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen--retrospectively recognized as a seminal alt-country band--through his solo career and sideman stints with the likes of Nick Lowe, guitarist Bill Kirchen has primarily been recognized as a master of the high-octane Telecaster. This release serves as a change of pace, as Kirchen puts the hot licks on the back burner while showcasing his songwriting chops and range as a vocal interpreter. After the hard-twanging title track provides a hymn to Kirchen's instrument of choice, he turns soulful and spiritual with "Rocks into Sand," shows a populist's social conscience on "Working Man," delivers a version of "Devil with the Blue Dress" that is closer to Shorty Long's R&B original than to Mitch Ryder's rock revival, and ends with a steel-guitar-laced transformation of soul legend Arthur Alexander's "If It's Really Got to Be This Way." The arrangements tend toward stripped-down intimacy, with former bandmates Lowe and Geraint Watkins and labelmates the Hacienda Brothers among those providing support. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I love Bill Kirchen. He is the coolest telecaster player around. If you like real Honky Tonk music, western swing, a little rockabilly, some truck driving songs and just some great guitar pickin' then this and all his albums are a must. Bill was with Commander Cody for several years and wrote a great country song titled, "I ain't never had too much fun", this particular cut is on his Live album which has the most outrageous version of Hot Rod Lincoln you will ever hear. This newest album is just more of the same great music. The title song "Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods" is a tribute to the Fender Telecaster with some clever lyrics and hot picking. The second cut "Rocks into Sand" reminds one of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits, "Get a Little Goner" is classic country about wanting your woman to just leave and leave you alone. "Skid Row in My Mind" is a slow country tune reminiscent of vintage Willie Nelson. "Working Man" is a swampy, twangy mid temp rocker. "Soul Cruisin'" is a soulful look at life and love. "Devil With A Blue Dress On' is a slow shuffle reworking of the old Mitch Ryder tune, this is one cool tune. "One More Day" is pure Western Swing and would have been right at home on an old Bob Wills album. "Heart Of Gold" is a honky tonk rocker in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis, I would love to hear the Killer tear this one up himself. "If It's Really Got To Be This Way" is Bill's version of an old Arthur Alexander tune about love gone wrong and not being able to let go. Give Bill a try, I'm sure he could use the money.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of the Telecaster April 5, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I've been a Bill Kirchen fan since Commander Cody and his Airmen first waxed their good-time, country/rockabilly vision. He's been churning out telecaster madness since then and made a number of great solo albums and superb guest appearances, many behind one of Pop's best songwriters, Nick Lowe. Kirchen has finally decided to enlist Lowe and his band of outstanding musicians to help put together his latest album: Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods. The result is Bill's finest album by far. There's much less telecaster twang than usual but the songs are ones of real substance. His voice (rather than his Tele) is front and centre and the album is better for it. The band of Lowe (bass), Geraint Watkins (keys), Austin Delone (keys) and Robert Trehern (drums) are augmented by steel, fiddle and a bevy of backing vocalists. Together they give a subtle but superb performance on each and every song; much in the manner of Lowe's own album Gig My Mood. Superb musicianship, superb originals and a few lovely covers, excellent production values and attention to detail make this Bill's finest album; one that actually may break him into the mainstream of the "roots/Americana" scene.

Those who love Bill's Telecaster ripping through a brace of dieselbilly and rockabilly tunes may be disappointed with this album. There's still plenty of great guitar work here but the emphasis is more on presenting well-crafted songs that will stand the test of time. If you are lover of fine roots music then this album will be gracing your "turntable" for a long, long time.

Well done, Proper Records (responsible for those fine, value-for-money box-sets of older roots music) for giving Bill Kirchen the chance to realise his vision and for fans to truly appreciate one of music's lasting gems.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
It's ironic that Kirchen named this release after a lead track that extols the impact of the Telecaster, if only because his hot-picking talents aren't really the album's focus. Not that he's laid down his six string, there's plenty of twang here, but the songs, singing and arrangements are balanced with the solos, rather than created as window dressing for a guitar showcase. That too isn't completely unusual for Kirchen's recordings, but his vocals and lyrics get a touch more focus here than his more honky-tonk oriented dieselbilly records.

The opener lives up to the album's advertisement, providing a twanging, rhyming history of a guitar "born at the junction of form and function." You'd almost think it was a product of the Bauhaus rather than Fender. Kirchen keeps up the honky-tonk two stepping on "Get a Little Goner" and the Jerry Lee Lewis styled "Heart of Gold," but the rest of the album hits the dance floor at a lower speed. "Skid Row in My Mind" (from the songwriter who brought you the Commander Cody classic "Mama Hated Diesels") is a '70s styled country ballad, and "Rocks into Sand" melds a smooth Mark Knopfler guitar tone with a dusty clip-clop Western trail rhythm.

The blue-soul original "Working Man" sounds like something Dave Edmunds might have dug out of his record collection for one of his early solo albums, and "Soul Cruisin'" hits the same twangy-soul groove that Dave Alvin and The Hacienda Brothers have successfully mined. A cover of Mitch Ryder's "Devil With the Blue Dress" is played slow and slinky, and the closing rendition of Arthur Alexander's magnificent "If It's Really Got to Be This Way" is appropriately heartbroken, if not as fatally wounded as the author's own versions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this album a Grammy - And Buy it NOW. May 19, 2007
Format:Audio CD
I've known of Bill Kirchen's music for nearly thirty five years - and this album tops all previous albums combined. The music is just plain awesome. The production qualities are superb. The lyrics are up to date - with a bit of politico thrown in. IF you love rock, country, country-rock, americana, and great guitars and lyrics give this album a spin.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars master of the telecaster!!
While Bill built his reputation with Commander Cody, and then as a perpetrator of diesel-billy, this CD showcases his songwriting ability. Read more
Published 9 months ago by jimboturbo
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK
First off, I love Bill Kirchen. This CD though disapointed. When I want Krichen, I want Telecaster. Some of these songs sound like Jackson Brown. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Tweed sound
5.0 out of 5 stars Hammer Of The Honky Tonk Gods
This is Great Stuff! Rockabilly carried to the nth degree, with some Blusey Americana thrown in for filler. Read more
Published on September 23, 2012 by Donald Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Excellent recording featuring a broader variety of styles than previous efforts while retaining Kirchen's wit and of course superb guitar work. Read more
Published on February 17, 2008 by K. Koenig
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill is a honky-tonk god
Bill is one of the best honky-tonk guitar players ever. This album shows that he is a lot more. I agree this album is not a showcase of his twang but I think that makes it even... Read more
Published on January 19, 2008 by H. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful musician and wonderful song writer
Being a fan for over 30 years, this may not be a totally subjective review. I love it. I was introduced to Bill Kirchen's music through his work as a Lost Planet Airman; however,... Read more
Published on September 7, 2007 by Cat Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Less Honky Tonk & Dieselbilly -but still Bill !
Being a big Kirchen fan from way back, I had to have this... Sadly, for me, it's got a little more of a pop/lounge/R&B feel than the trucker twang and country stuff I love most. Read more
Published on March 28, 2007 by B. HasBrouck
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflective
Except for this disc's title song, Bill shows off his voice more than his wizardry on the Telecaster on this CD and the songs are more reflective and moody than hard rockin'. Read more
Published on March 9, 2007 by Nancy22204
5.0 out of 5 stars the master of the telecaster
i didnt buy this cd but i did go see bill kirchen perform his new cd live in its ENTIRETY on 1.28 @ the iron horse in MA. it was amazing. Read more
Published on January 30, 2007 by Doug
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