Purple Pyramid 2017
Heebie jeebies at their best. Wailing away like a banshee is optional, getting your goosebumps is not.
It doesn’t get any scarier than this. For all the obvious rock’s connection to horror, there are always dark recesses for the non-faint-hearted to be cornered in and thrilled to their bones. That’s what “Halloween Garage Blues” – a mix of fresh frighteners and obscure creepers from the past – is all about, although the second word in its title points towards the collection’s sound rather than confined spaces. Orchestration aside, Arthur Brown’s “Fire” can be quite damaging to a fragile mind, of course, but the positively scuzzy, and spaced-out, opener “She Cast A Spell On Me” from Eric Gales & Geno should prepare the listener for the horrors to come.
It won’t be difficult, then, to discern the same, albeit distorted, Diddley beat in Iggy’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and not get spooked once “Rocket Into Outer Space” has been released, high on fuzz, on Sylvain Sylvain’s launchpad, while Tom Killner’s band add tightly stitched rumble to the “Dr. Frankenstein” nightmare to shake one’s socks off. More regular loser woes – packed in the chops of Johnny Winter’s “Black Cat Bone” or the alloy of slide guitars and piano in “Bad Luck Shadow” from Johnny and Shuggie Otis – may be contrasted with PINK FAIRIES’s “Lone Wolf” and MC5’s “Poison” on the demented end of scale here, but Kenny Neal is tapping into the same timeless tradition with his “Swamp Creature” as Junior Wells does with “Hoodoo Man Blues.”
Yet if Dr. John is rather expected to grace such a comp – with the brass-blessed creak of “Zu Zu Man” adding to the overall night trip – Rev. KM Williams’ “Highway 666” emerges in as a welcomed whiff of a noise-stricken nocturnal stroll, and Harvey Mandel’s istrumental “Hank The Ripper” cuts up a heavier edge of dread. Still, it will take Leo Bud Welch’s sparse “Don’t Let The Devil Ride” or “Death Letter” in Pat Travers’ acoustic reading to instill terror and compassion in the hardest of hearts, as opposed to Mike Pinera’s in “Wolfman vs. Aztec Mummy” or THE COFFIN DAGGERS cartoonish stomp in "Kreepy Krawl" where twang and roar shimmy to and fro.
Entertaining as Halloween itself is, this collection is a nice soundtrack for trickin’ ‘n’ treatin’.