The Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls are one of the most capable bands of pulling off rock-a-billy, swing and blues in the same breath. Hubba Hubba is their first release but without a doubt, with these songs and the songmanship they possess, there is bound to be more records to print. The Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls are based out of The Twin Cities in Minnesota. They have played with the likes of Slim Whitman as well as others and they are most legendary at a local Blues bar, Whiskey Junction. Their local success gained them the honor of this record. And it is certainly worth the little time and money it would cost you to pick up a copy.
The whole record is quite up beat with a Derailers and BR5-49 sound. A large range of writing style is displayed very thoroughly, from the song about Elvis being abducted by aliens in "Elvis In The Sky" to the instrumental "Beldonia." Ironically enough "Beldonia" is Jim Belder's nickname, the wonderful Jerry Lee like piano player you hear on "Mess Around," additional vocals and the accordion you hear on a few tracks were also played by Belder. "Mohair Sam" was written by the one and only Dallas Frazier, who has written quite a few mainstream songs in country music and R & B. This particular track can also be found on Frazier's album Elvra. "Jeez Lousie" stands out in my mind as the most rock-a-billy, 50's western rock song, catchy lyrics overlaid with a twangy guitar. Speaking of guitar "Miss Froggy" has an introduction of a Brian Setzer like riff and leads into a classic swing beat, complete with the mention of blue suede shoes. Although a few of the lyrics are muffled on "What's So Tough About It," it's still a nice somber bluesy little tune. "Jumpin' In The Morning" was originally recorded by Ray Charles who also wrote it and featured it on his record Birth of Soul. "What's So Tough About It" and "Beldonia," were written by Paul Bergen who also shares the vocals on the record and plays the lead guitar. Another band member sharing song writer credits is bass player Paul Manske, he contributed "All Fried Up," an up beat number about getting loud and getting drunk, "Can't Stand It No More," which reminds me of a Hank Williams SR tune. The other two members, the fore mentioned Belder and Tony Kamana, seem to stay strictly to playing and not composing.
The packaging for this album was a little unusual -- the design and lay out could have been thought through a little better, in my humble opinion, but after all it is about the music not the appearance. On the musical side they truly shine through the hot pink and lime neon greens on the bright album cover. The actual genre of their music may not be "different" but the actual band definitely is. And as I stated earlier people, this is a band worth a little of your hard earned money and time.
If you would like to order this record or any other titles from Blue Loon records contact them at: Blue Loon Records - PO Box 581364 - Mpls MN 55458 or visit their online home at:
This review is copyright © 1999 by Eve Morris, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.