The Killer B's continue the rhythm'n'blues dynasty that started with the Small Brothers, passed on via Motor Boys Motor and the Screaming Blue Messiahs (and briefly through Dynamo Hum). Alongside the ever-present Chris Thompson (now guitar/slide and vocals) and Kenny Harris (drums) are Tony Moon (vocals/harp) and Ricky McGuire (bass). Their debut album, "Love Is A Cadillac - Death Is A Ford," marks a very welcome return.
The album opens in terrific style with "Liar Liar" where the band serve notice of their intentions. It is raw, highly charged stuff, which would not sound out of place on the Fat Possum label. The ensuing "Colour Me Go," which contains the line that gives the album its title, proves that the opener is not a flash in the pan, and things get even hotter on the Bo Diddley derived beat of "Bad Ju Ju."
The album contains 11 original tunes, most of which are uptempo, and would make for great driving music. Even when things are slowed down a bit, such as the very fine "Head Hive and the Honey" the sound still has a primitive feel to it. The only cover is an updated rendition of Robert Pete Williams' "Grown So Ugly" which is given the Killer B's treatment.
Singling out a best track is a tough job, with the aforementioned "Bad Ju Ju" and "Ball That Jack" both worthy of consideration. The track that I keep coming back to, however, is the excellent "Shake Marilyn Monroe." It features some great slide guitar that always remains just the right side of manic, and a very strong pounding beat that makes you jump around in your seat.
"Love is a Cadillac - Death is a Ford" is a great album. Producer Pat Collier has achieved a sound that marks the band out as hailing from the strong British r'n'b tradition, and it works perfectly. The album will immediately appeal to fans of the Screaming Blue Messiahs, but anyone who likes their rhythm'n'blues rough and ready (think Beefheart at his bluesiest, R.L. Burnside, early Gun Club and the UK's Dr. Feelgood) will find plenty here to enjoy. The first pressing is limited, so stop wasting time and get along to the band's website (www.chatnoir.demon.co.uk/SBM.html) where you can order the album. I cannot think of a better debut album of the year. Terrific stuff.
This review is copyright © 2002 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.