FAME Review: Bill Kirchen - Seeds and Stems
Bill Kirchen - Seeds and Stems

Seeds and Stems

Bill Kirchen

Proper Records - PRPCD112

Available from Bill Kirchen's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Bill Kirchen has been around as a pioneer and innovator for years now, and people often forget that he has been producing high energy shows and discs since forever, maybe even going back into prehistoric Americana, before there ever was such a term. The music he plays might have a category all of its own; it is a collection of rock 'n' roll, hard-core country, boogie and rockabilly sound, with lots of twang. He is sometimes referred to as the "Titan of the Telecaster." But aside from playing the telecaster he is an accomplished songwriter, having a hand in writing the majority of the songs on this disc, and an excellent vocalist. A number of the songs here go back to classics he recorded with Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

His speed on the guitar is amazing and he can switch styles somewhat faster than the speed of light. If you listen to one of his signature tunes, Hot Rod Lincoln, you will hear him name off famous bands and or guitarists; from Link Ray to all the Kings, BB, Freddie, Albert, Ben E to The King and to Carole King, etc., to Bo Diddley, to the English Invasion, and so on for about 50 different people/groups (I tried to count but just kept getting sucked up in the music) and styles and you could sure recognize everyone of them. Some of the tunes on this disc he also reworked and recorded here with the band his touring band, Jack O'Dell on drums, percussion, and harmony vocals, and Maurice Cridlin on electric and string bass. His stage show is peppered with songs that you wonder how they got there. However, he does that unexpectedly good version that makes you kind of slap your head and say of course; especially with Bob Dylan songs like It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, included here, the touch is delicate and, a word I never thought I'd use in a Bill Kirchen review, sublime. There are a few other musicians thrown in but that is the core band. If you haven't heard him, this is an excellent sample of his work and you can see where the name Americana originated.

Track List:

  • Too Much Fun
  • Tell Me The Reason
  • Down To Seeds And Stems Again
  • Semi-Truck
  • Rockabilly Funeral
  • Womb To The Tomb
  • Flip Flop
  • Swing Fever
  • It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
  • Truck Stop At The End Of The World
  • Mama Hated Diesels
  • Hot Rod Lincoln
  • Talkin About Chicken

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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