I’m usually a little skittish about one-man band blues stuff, especially on Voodoo Rhythm. Sometimes you get psychotic weirdness that’s wonderful, a la the Reverend Beat Man. Often, you get off-key, white boy blues like Delaney Davidson. It’s this lack of assurance that gives me pause every time I push play on anything from the label carrying the “one-man” tag.
Hank Haint‘s debut LP, Blackout, is exactly what I want in a one-man blues band. I want it dirty, I want it scuzzy, I want it stomping, and I’d like it to be the sort of thing I’d sing along to when I was a little drunk. Haint succeeds on all levels.
The two covers on this LP serve to provide excellent signposts as to the direction of Hank Haint. The first is a take on GG Allin’s “Don’t Talk to Me” that easily improves upon the original’s rather blase sound. This is a pissed-off, irritated man singing here, and you’d do well to leave him alone. The second is a streamlined version of “Thunderbird ESQ,” originally by the Gories. It amps it up a little, making it less blues and more of a rocker.
And that’s the sound of Hank Haint — bluesy, but rocking, with a solid punk attitude and the pissed-off tone of a man who’s been wronged one too many times. Voodoo Rhythm bills themselves as putting out “records to ruin any party,” but this is the perfect end-of-the-night record. Everybody’s drunk and a little mean, and the people who stick around to listen to Blackout after all the squares clear out are the folks you want around until dawn.