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Jimmy Willing album Review

Jimmy Willing and the Real Gone Hick-Ups have finally released their debut, self-titled album, a landmark rustic masterpiece containing 13 joyful, rambunctious songs.
Hearkening back to old time epics by the likes of Hank Williams, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, it’s an eclectic carousel of lovesick sailors and dipsomaniacal rodeo clowns, singing dogs and satanic cardsharks that co-exist in a compact disc sounding like it was made in Sun Studios sometime in fashionable antiquity.
Jimmy has been extremely canny in selecting his musicians, a well-drilled squad of unlikely hillbillies who have adapted their talents to his backwoods ballads with charm and poise.
Clancy Robinson has been playing with Jimmy for 15 years now, a Faustian pact that has seen Clancy, already a superb hardcore rock drummer, develop his playing to incorporate the archaic waltzes, jigs and shuffles that distinguish Jimmy’s songs.
Likewise Tom Jones, who came to the band a slick electric bass player, had to dig deep to gain proficiency on old-school double bass, but now he swings it around like a Grand Ole Oprey sessioneer.
Dave Ramsey, already a veteran blues and folk balladeer when he joined the band, lends a powerful presence and bona fide hillbilly chops on rhythm guitar, but it is the unassuming Dan Rumour on electric guitar that provides Jimmy’s songs with their most telling motifs.
Dan is of course the lonesome guitar voice of the sadly departed Cruel Sea and his concise, scientific playing is none the less as lyrical as the likes of Link Wray and gives the songs a weight and authentic lustre that helps make this album a genuine alternative country classic.
Then there are the incomparable contributions of the album’s two guest star diva appearances. Glenys Rae Virus, a former Toe Sucking Cowgirl and current leader of the Tamworth Playboys, is a virtuoso on country fiddle and squeezebox, and she plies her weapons with consummate skill and bawdy finesse, while Christa Hughes, Queen of cabaret and seamless one-liners, struts about her duet ‘Catfish Fishin’ with all the saucy panache of a hussy born to the hills.
With the contributions of these luminaries wedded to Willing’s saucy prose and simple, addictive ditties, this album has landed intact as the new word in hillbilly music. Available via or at any of the band’s shows.

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