Hard As Hammered Hell - Otis Gibbs Album Review
There's a song on Gibbs' 6th album entitled "Big Whiskers" which, after glancing at PR pictures of the gravel-voiced blues-peddlin' bushwhackin' 'fifth-grade' yo-yo champion (it says here), I feel inclined to pay respect to - hey, we chin-shrub horticulturalists need to stick together. Actually that song and many others on this engaging blues 'n' country album has been inspired by Otis' own experiences, either childhood or adult. "Big Whiskers" is all about a local big catfish that earned itself a place in the 1966 World Fishing Records by being caught just a few swims away from Gibbs' home. His own angling exploits failed miserably, hence this jump-up country song, one of the highlights here.
Otis Gibbs has been knocking out similar albums since the early 2000's, although musically he's firmly cemented within '70s era Van Morrison and '80s Dylan. However, it's Gibbs' coarse tobacco-soaked vocal that truly sets the scene for an album that contains heartfelt rockers such as "Made to Break", "Broke and Restless" and "Detroit Steel". If he doesn't chug on 50 Marlboros a day, I'm a Dutch man. If Jack White really wanted to craft a blues and roots album with a singer who possesses a holler that makes Seasick Steve sound like Bruno Mars, he could do worse than employ this man.
Driving tankers, fishing, sons of bitches, women, sufferin' and hope - it's all here and more, delivered with 'harder than hammered hell', to paraphrase Gibbs' album-title. You sense that here is a well-oiled and travelled musician who's been there, done that and bought the dungarees, yet still has time and patience to bang out album after album, gig after gig to tell y'all about it - and there's nothing wrong in that. Simplicity rules here, from the opening bawler "Never Enough" to the short and sweet closer, "Blues for Mackensie". If you're at a loss for something to do in your local town during mid-summer, check out Otis Gibbs' gig-list and get some serious beard in your life.
- Sat 12th Oct 2013 Otis GibbsBirchmeadow Centre - Broseley (Shropshire)Buy Tickets