Review: The Nighthawks – Slant Six


The Nighthawks - Slant Six

The Nighthawks – Slant Six
Format: Digital / Label: VizzTone Label Group
Release: 2023

Tekst: Bert van Kessel

The Nighthawks like to present themselves as “the best bar band in the world’. And they may well have been once, judging by various high-energy live albums.

These Blues & Roots veterans, fronted by harpist Mark Wenner, celebrated their 50th anniversary last year with the spirited album ‘Established 1972’. However, this six-track (digital) mini-album is an uninspired and perfunctory affair and makes it look as if they have passed their sell-by date.

There is nothing wrong with the classic blues tracks they have picked, among which Johnny Guitar Watson’s Motorhead Baby, which unfortunately lacks ‘grinta’ with Don Hovey’s guitar solo sounding uninspired, and the iconic Forty Days And Forty Nights, made famous by Muddy Waters, on which even Mark Wenner himself should also have made more of his contribution on harmonica.

Which he does on Muddy Waters’ Standin’ Around Cryin, a gripping slow blues and the only convincing track as far as I’m concerned. The double vocals on Willie Egan’s New Orleans dance tune and first single Don’t Know Where She Went imbue the track with a little more enthusiasm, but again the solos, Don Hovey on guitar and Mark Wenner on harp, are lacklustre.

Is this mediocre EP what the Nighthawks are capable of at the moment or will they be able to re-establish their reputation with their next album? I sincerely hope so, but if this is the best they can come up with, retirement looms large.

01. Motor Head Baby
02. Forty Days And Forty Nights
03. Standing Around Cryin
04. You’re Welcome To The Club
05. Poor Me
06. Don’t Know Where She Went