Out of the Darkness
Check out Billy's mostly self penned songs on this album and enjoy the music as it flows through Billy and into your lives. The Blues as only Billy can write and perform it. ---------------------- 'Blue Suede News' which calls itself 'The House Organ of the Church of Rock 'N' Roll,' is devoted to rockabilly, rhythm and blues. Their current issue contains the first of an extensive two part look at Billy's life and his love of not only the blues but all music. ---------------------- That same weathered quality of Billy Hancock's voice that Ken Burke was complaining about on his last CD "Passions" (which didn't bother me as I didn't have the background in Billy's earlier Rockabilly recordings, but DID have a strong background with singers like Delbert McClinton and Lloyd Jones - I liked the CD), works perfectly on this Blues outing. The show opens on a slight rewrite of Roosevelt Sykes' "Dirty Mutha Fah Ya" as a Real Mutha Fuh Ya.' followed by "Blue Train" with clear inspiration from "Mystery Train." "A Fool And His Money" is derived from Fats Domino's "The Fat Man', which itself was built on the frame of "Junkers Blues." Changing gears a bit "Going Down Slow" is not the St. Louis Jimmy tune, though it was likely inspired in part by that and perhaps "Killing Floor" from the Wolf. I'm really loving the way the band sounds here and it features some longtime cohorts of Hancock's in Dave Chappell and Steve Wolf. "Really The Blues" evens mentions or quotes one of it's inspirations In Guitar Slim's "Things I Used To Do," but also reminds me of Mean Old World." Including Merle Haggard's "Going Where The Lonely Go" is a touch of genius, and it's also touching to hear Jim Kirkhuff's "Tears For New Orleans" with it's Dixieland groove, which also appears in "Lay Down A Blanket On The Floor." It all adds up to be a deeply rooted and very satisfying tour of the Blues, with plenty of Soul! Folks who had Billy Hancock pegged as a Rockabilly should be prepared to abandon that tunnel vision, just lay on your back (in your mind if necessary) on some dark grassy hill and contemplate the universe of stars, galaxies, nebulae, comets and other interstellar phenomena that his true musical spectrum encompasses! You've probably followed Billy Lee Riley down this same gravel road. Marc Bristol Review for Blue Suede News #83 ---------------------- Hancock's new CD, "Out Of The Darkness" focuses on one genre-the Blues. But it is a Blues record that runs the gamut from the eight bar Blues of New Orleans to the Southern Soul of the 60's. It was almost entirely done with his regular rhythm section, Chappell, Wolf and Hart. Pianist Terry Lee, Rockets slap bassist Bryan Smith, saxophonist Jacques Johnson and the legendary D.C. female soul group, The Jewels all take colorful turns, but it is the working band that unifies the record's core. Chappell particularly shines as a unique voice on the Fender Telecaster. The title song, an original soul ballad partially inspired by Soloman Burke's Gospel recordings, features a soft spoken recitation in which Hancock gives his own observations of the human condition. When The Jewels, former backup vocalists for James Brown, add their chorus to the song's refrain, it isn't hard to visualize them in the robes of a choir. "Tears for New Orleans," written by the late Jim Kirkhuff, paints a sorrowful yet optimistic picture of New Orleans past and present with the authenticity of Chappell's banjo and Jacques Johnson's clarinet. Hancock finds time for his own Ragtime fingerpicking as he reprises and reworks the old chestnut "Make Me A Blanket On Your Floor." And perhaps the autobiographic song "Really The Blues," a homage to the R&B singers of his youth, in particular Guitar Slim, ties it all together with it's line, "When I was young boy, the music was my only friend." Terrence McCardle Excerpts from an Interview & Review for Blue Suede News #82 & 83.