Sometimes, a record is just meant to be fun. Nothing more, nothing less. Welcome to In a Honky-Tonk Mood. Of course, it’s easy to have fun with the likes of this band.
There are few guitarists around right now from whom I steal more licks than Redd Volkaert. He’s so original and fun as a player that you can’t help yourself. And In a Honky-Tonk Mood kicks off with “I Done It,” a three-chord bluesy honky-tonk – nothing more, nothing less. By Volkaert’s solo, strange things start to happen. He kicks it off with a major-7th lick that appears to have no business being there, but sounds incredibly cool. After a short bluesy run, he walks the blues back down to the one with a mixture of double-stops and chords. A solo that most would turn into a cliché has become a minor work of art. There’s a lot of that here.
Another thing I really like about this is the cover of the Hank Thompson song “Squaws Along the Yukon.” As kids, my brother and I would replace the words in the chorus with whatever popped into our heads. We took particular glee in using San Diego Charger kicker Rolf Benirschke’s name (“Rolf Benirshke, nershke, means that I love you”). And we did that into our 30s! No, I don’t know why. Anyway, there’s a terrific version of this now-very-politically-incorrect song here, with Volkaert singing and playing wonderful guitar. You gotta love it.
This plain and simple, is a fun record. Its back-panel artwork shows a line of jukeboxes, and that’s what this will remind you of as the band zips through 15 songs that’ll keep you smiling. Ignore at your own risk.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.