What a great record, full of fire, fury and speed
Daryl Easlea 2009-07-08
From Austin, Texas, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears are something quite special. Tell 'Em What Your Name Is steams in all powerful and shouty and really, it doesn't let up.
Lewis, a self-taught singer and guitarist at the age of 19, holds it all together with his impassioned cries. Supported by the Grupo Fantasma 'Jewmex' horns, the Honeybears write intensity large; at best it is like your favourite northern soul record, the most dazzling moments of 80s agitpoppers the Redskins (without the politics) and the entire Wilson Pickett catalogue.
What rescues Tell 'Em What Your Name Is from being merely an affectionate parody is its strength and brevity. It genuinely is over before you fully acclimatise yourself to it. All the songs were made up as they went along; and it sounds it in a good way – openers Gunpowder and Sugarfoot leave you breathless. I'm Broke offers a tempo change and closing Please Pt. Two is a full-tilt scream.
Produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno, 75% of Tell 'Em What Your Name Is was recorded live in the studio. It's only when it gets a little too formulaic on Big Booty Women that you feel you may have had enough. That said, by Get Yo S*** a couple of songs later you are completely back on song.
What a great record, full of fire, fury and speed, that makes you wonder at times whatever happened to Jo'Boxers. Enjoy all 30 minutes 34 seconds of it.