Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Ha Ha Tonka at the RecordBar

I'm surely not the only Midwestern music fan who instinctively compares Ha Ha Tonka to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. While separated by about three decades, both roots-oriented acts sprung out of Springfield. Their members even bear an uncanny time-adjusted resemblance to one another.

Ha Ha Tonka's November 23 show at the RecordBar reminded me that the comparison is a bit misleading. O.M.D. had a proclivity for boogie. H.H.T.'s ramshackle rock and quiet harmony singing largely avoided that tempting trap on Thanksgiving Eve. The only false step was an annoying cover of "Pumped Up Kicks." I had so much fun that I was never even tempted to chat up the former NBA player and the boy band superstar standing just a few feet away from me.

Will H.H.T. ever have a "Jackie Blue"-style hit? O.M.D. had the support of producer Glyn Johns and the major label machinery. H.H.T.'s three albums have been issued by small but proud alt-country label Bloodshot Records. The odds against great songs like "Usual Suspects", consequently, are almost insurmountable. Even so, there's no shame in becoming the next version of The Gourds.

I monitored the final round of Sonic Spectrum's music trivia last night. Had I been playing for keeps, I would have been tempted to overturn a table in a fit of self-loathing for failing to identify this gem.

I'm a big fan of my Kansas City jazz blog Plastic Sax.

Kansas City Click: You know where to find me Tuesday evening.

Max Groove appears Wednesday at Chaz.

Kinky Friedman does whatever it is he does Thursday at Knuckleheads.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)


Anonymous said...

Former NBA player and boyband star? Care to share who they were? Really bummed I was out of town and missed this show.

Happy In Bag said...

Paul Shirley and a Backstreet Boy.

bigsteveno said...

Yeah that Dean Martin thing pissed me off too (though not so violently). I think we guessed Bing, because the track sounded more like what I thought his music was supposed to sound like.

Happy In Bag said...

I saw that you went with Bing, Steve, but I was thinking of someone along the lines of Billy Eckstine.

Credit where credit's due- it was a great question from Robert Moore.