Album: Hayseed Dixie

A Hot Piece of Grass, COOKING VINYL
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The Independent Culture

There was a brief vogue 10 or 15 years ago for light-hearted cross-genre cover-versions of well-known songs, such as Dread Zeppelin's reggae treatments of heavy-metal material. The idea is obviously back in fashion: following last week's Tuvan throat-singing covers of rock classics, by Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha, comes this album featuring bluegrass versions of heavy rock and pop hits by Hayseed Dixie (a redneck AC/DC - get it?). Besides being amusing, the results are surprisingly effective in most cases, with the serpentine guitar flurries of Led Zep's "Black Dog" and the dramatic solo fills of "Whole Lotta Love" transferring neatly to the tricksy requirements of bluegrass banjo, mandolin and fiddle. Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" is less successful but there's a perfect fit of theme and style on the Hayseeds' version of "Rockin' in the Free World", which could have been done this way by Neil Young himself. But the clincher is their version of OutKast's "Roses", which brilliantly transposes Andre and Big Boi's arch, mannered delivery to an equally engaging country twang. The latter half of the album comprises the band's own songs which suffer somewhat by comparison with the gilt-edged melodies of the covers.

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