20.I Need Your Head (...This Ain't No Rock N' Roll Show)
Recorded between 1955-1965.
Hasil Adkins is a backwoods surrealist from rural West Virginia who spent most of the '50s, '60s, and '70s bashing ultra-crude rockabilly into an ancient reel-to-reel tape deck, one-man-band style (no overdubbing allowed -- Adkins keeps the beat with bass drum pedals while laying down the melody on guitar and howling his lyrics in a single fevered take). Adkins' approach would be odd enough no matter what his songs were about, but a quick scan of his lyrics indicates this is where he really starts to drift into the Twilight Zone; he's recorded no fewer than three tunes about decapitation, "She Said" concerns an assignation with a woman who looked "like a dyin' can of that commodity meat," and "The Hunch" describes the nation's slowest rising new dance craze like so -- "Now, if you ain't never seen nobody do the Hunch, you ain't never saw my woman! And I declare, son, you won't never see her! 'Cause I ain't got one!" Everybody clear on that? As you've no doubt gathered, Out to Hunch (compiled by Billy Miller from a decade's worth of home-recorded Adkins sessions, two of which were actually released as singles in the 1950s) doesn't sound a whole lot like anything else you've heard before, and if you're the sort of person who thinks Eric Clapton improves on Buddy Guy's guitar style, this probably won't be your bag. But if you believe that rock & roll is about passion and enthusiasm first and foremost, then Hasil Adkins has got to be one of the greatest rockers who ever walked the Earth -- even the weirdest, crudest songs bubble with wired conviction, and odd as his style may be, Hasil rocks hard on every frantic cut of Out to Hunch. A true original and a thing of wonderment, Out to Hunch is a truly singular rock & roll experience; after listening to it, hot dogs will never seem quite the same again. ~ Mark Deming