Hayseed Dixie : Hair Down To My Grass
|As the opening notes of Hair Down to my Grass, the latest album from Hayseed Dixie come into earshot, there’s an uncomfortable feeling dreaded by every reviewer that can be summed up by the following sentence.|
“Oh God, do I have to listen to eleven more tracks of this.”
I’m the wrong person to do this. Someone with an affection for the band and a knowledge of previous releases that enables them to place this one into context would be better. But everyone else has gone to the pub.
So, just in case fans of the hairy ones are reading this and don’t wish to read of their heroes being portrayed in a less than positive light, it’s cards on the table time.
I fucking hate this record.
The history of Hayseed Dixie is well documented. They found a stack of AC/DC records in a car crash and decided to crucify the songs with their own bluegrass versions. Well, that’s not a word for word account of the official version, but you get the idea.
Hair Down to my Grass consists mainly of softer material, much of it beloved by the Karaoke brigade, and it gets the same treatment.
It’s a bit like listening to the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, where every song has to be shoe horned into a particular style in order to be attempted. Can you imagine Rocky Balboa beating the crap out of an opponent accompanied by a fiddle laden version of Eye of the Tiger? No, neither can I.
Likewise with Don’t Stop Believing. The piano intro is such an integral part of the song, that removing it leaves the piece incomplete.
“I got my first real six-string. Bought it at the five-and-dime, Played it 'til by fingers bled” warbled Bryan Adams on the original version of Summer of ’69. Had the six string been a banjo then Bryan’s injuries would have been more extensive and inflicted by other people.
Maybe there’s a joke I’m not getting, because all of this seems very silly. Think of Paul Anka slaughtering Wonderwall. He didn’t quite understand what he was getting into.
The polite thing now, would be to acknowledge that Hayseed Dixie are extremely accomplished musicians, even if the end result is a bit naff. This shows that your reviewer isn’t a completely unreasonable bastard. But sod that. I have a pleasant vision where they arrive in the UK and are immediately deported in a plane that flies over a skip containing their instruments, which have been doused in petrol and set alight.
As the album winds to a close, Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb gets an outing. Precede the track title with 'Un' and it becomes more accurate. And finally, (yee-ha!) we have Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper. By this stage the Reaper wasn't feared as much as welcomed. Come in son, put that scythe down. Fancy a beer before you do the business?
Using the CD as a beer mat, so it at least it has some use, leaves an empty jewel case on which you can see the legend.
“Rockgrass since 2001.”
Really. That's long enough for anyone. Just stop it now.
- Les Pilling
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