Friday, February 26, 2021

#488 : Head Honchos - Blues Alliance

2020 – Grooveyard Records

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 26, 2021

Head Honchos, a heavy-duty blues-rock band from Indiana, grabbed my full attention from the git-go with their second album Blues Alliance.  This power-quartet, centered on dual guitars manned by lead vocalist Rocco Calipari Sr. and his son Rocco Calipari Jr. is definitely a band that deserves a hell of a lot of attention.  Comprising the rest of the band is bassist Mike Boyle and drummer Will Wyatt.  Eleven tracks in length, the album features nine outstanding originals and two stellar covers.

I love the dirty, greasy groove on “Mr. Bad”.  It sounds so damn good paired up with the ripping guitars from the Caliparis.  Raw and blood-thirsty vocals from Rocco Sr. take full command.  “She Got That Thing” is nearly six minutes of funky rockin’ bliss.  I have to give bonus points for solos from Wyatt on drums, and Boyle on bass.  Another song that digs right in is “Can’t Be Satisfied” with its fearless driving rhythm, pounding drums, and infectious riff.  Scooped up by the Chuck Berry influence on “Rock n’ Roll”, I grab on tight for the ride and enjoy this no-holds-barred rocker.

Their cover of “Evil”, written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin’ Wolf is magnificent.  This performance is so reminiscent of classic Zeppelin.  A breakneck pulse, searing guitars, and fearless vocals make this the stand-out track.  The record closes with another fantastic cover.  Serendipitously, very shortly before I decided to review this album, I became enthralled with Big Ass Truck’s version of the Al Green song, “I’m A Ram”.  Then I discovered that song was covered by Head Honchos too.  Al Green made it soulful.  Big Ass Truck made it funky. Govt Mule made it somewhat reggae.  Now Head Honcho gives it a swampy makeover, with lots of slide and some juicy harp from Wyatt.

Blues Alliance is a record I very highly recommend.  It’s going down as one of my favorites of the year. 




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