Hold Your Horses

The JudyBats

Independent release, 1995


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Okay, so here’s the story. As many people who follow this site might know, I am a huge Judybats fan and have been for over ten years. I’ve followed the band for years and keep up with members on social media. There had been talk of a fan-circulated bootleg known as Hold Your Horses that was released unofficially in 1995 or so on the band’s early Internet mailing list. As it was unofficial, there was no way I would be able to legitimately track down a copy. That is, until March of 2018, when lead singer Jeff Heiskell posted a video of The SOS Band’s “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” on Facebook casually mentioning that the Judybats had covered it live for a number of years. Discussion followed and it was brought up that the song existed on Hold Your Horses, and I thought of the idea of asking if someone could upload it into Dropbox. Well, lo and behold, someone stepped up and told us he would if Heiskell gave his permission. Eventually, that was granted and I proceeded to download it, as well as a live compilation I’d never heard of entitled Daddy That Makes Me Feel Ickymy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 .

A good chunk of songs included on Hold Your Horses were only available as B-sides on CD singles released by Sire/Reprise in the early ‘90s. Several songs, including the lovely Christmas track “When Southern Bells Ring” and the live favorite “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck Your Hair,” I’d already heard and loved, but there were plenty I had never been able to find anywhere. My favorite of these long-lost songs is “The Infidelity Song,” one that’s just as good as any track found on the first two ‘Bats discs. Some others are just okay, like “I Know These Hills,” but again, they are B-sides so not everything’s going to be a complete winner.

“Kindness Kills Me” is one of the band’s earliest songs and it’s definitely an interesting one that fits in with the vibes of their debut, Native Son, but as that record had enough songs already, something had to get left off. The musicianship here is outstanding and shows the band was capable of standing out from the rest of the alternative rock pack.

There are also a bunch of live tracks from a mid-90’s show in Chicago. “Daylight,” always one of my favorites, stands out here because of its high energy. Even “Sorry Counts” from their sorry excuse for a fourth record, Full-Empty, gets a revitalizing facelift and turns out really good. Although I have to say it does feel weird to hear “Convalescing In Spain” in a much more sped-up style and without the atmospheric keyboards. It’s hard to wrap my head around. The different arrangement of “My Dead Friend” from pain makes your beautiful is a good improvement on the original and shows how unique the band could make each song in a different setting.

The use of radio mixes or alternate versions of songs like “Being Simple” and “La Dulcinea” does nothing to the record, and as a result, it gets a few demerits for poor track listing. The only other negative is the omission of the band’s cover of The S.O.S. Band classic “Take Your Time (Do It Right),” which can be found on the much weaker Daddy compilation.

All in all, this was one of the holy grails of recorded music that I have been searching for for some time because of my love for this band. It feels really gratifying to be able to have the band’s entire discography at my fingertips and to be able to enjoy everything recorded by one of my favorite groups of the alternative rock explosion.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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