All You Gotta Do

The Nighthawks

Ellersoul Records, 2017

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The Nighthawks is an ultimate bar band who made good. Now five decades into their career, they continue to play their unique and gritty brand of blues, rock, and roots music. The have now issued their latest album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 All You Gotta Do.

They keep it straightforward and simple on their latest release. There are no guests here, just the members of the band. They also keep overdubs to a minimum. Basically, what they record in the studio is what you get on the disc.

While many of their albums contain almost all original tunes, this release finds them moving outward to cover material from a number of very different artists on all but three songs.

The blues have always provided the band’s foundation. Muddy Waters’ “Baby I Want To Be Loved” is a grade school primer of the blues, Chicago style. They move Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Ninety Nine” close to rock and roll with Mark Wenner’s harmonica filling in the gaps. “Snake Drive” has a driving beat that would fit the smoky club scene late at night.

The three original songs travel different paths. “Another Day” is a folk-like protest piece clothed in a blues framework. “Blues For Brother John” is a hybrid song that focus’ on Wenner’s harmonica. Mark Stutso’s “Voo Doo Doll” is the requisite love song.

Harmonies have always been a part of the Nighthawks’ appeal. Jesse Winchester’s “Isn’t That So” is a gentle harmonic romp through one of the songmaster’s creations. The Standells “Dirty Water” is an ultimate garage song. Thousands of wannabe bands have covered this song. The Nighthawks changes it up a bit, but it is still a fine salute to a uniquely American style.

All You Gotta Do finds the Nighthawks in fine form. This release is an album of solid blues and rock and roll from a veteran band who has honed their craft for decades.

Rating: B

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© 2017 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ellersoul Records, and is used for informational purposes only.