All You Gotta Do
Ellersoul Records 2017
Review by David Bowling
The Nighthawks are an ultimate bar band who made good. Now five decades into their career, they continue to play their unique and gritty brand of blues, rock, and roots music. The have now issued their latest album All You Gotta Do.
They keep it straightforward and simple on their latest release. They are no guests; just the members of the band. There also keep overdubs to a minimum. Basically what they record in the studio is what you get.
While many of their albums contain almost all original tunes, here except for three songs, they move outward to cover material from a number of very different artists.
The blues have always provided the band’s foundation. Muddy Waters “Baby I Want To Be Loved” is a grade school primer of the blues, Chicago style. They move Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Ninety Nine” close to rock and roll with Mark Wenner’s harmonica filling in the gaps. “Snake Drive” has a driving beat that would fit the smoky club scene late at night.
The three original songs travel different paths. “Another Day” is a folk-like protest piece clothed in a blues framework. “Blues For Brother John” is a hybrid song that focus’ on Wenner’s harmonica. Mark Stutso’s “Voo Doo Doll” is the requisite love song.
Harmonies have always been a part of the Nighthawks appeal. Jesse Winchester’s “Isn’t That So” is a gentle harmonic romp though one of a song masters creations. The Standells “Dirty Water” is an ultimate garage song Thousands of wanna-be bans have covered this song. They change it up a bit but it is a fine salute to a uniquely American style.
All You Gotta Do finds the Nighthawks in fine form. An album of solid blues and rock and roll from a veteran band who have honed their craft for decades.