Posted by:on June 9th, 2000
Spend a Night in the Box refers to the movie “Cool Hand Luke” which takes place during the 1940’s at a chain gang style correctional facility in the deep south. Basically, if you screw up, you spend a night in the box, a sort of sensory depravation severe cramp and heat exhaustion inducing facility that was basically… a box. Well the Reverend must have spent a night in the box after the the release of Space Heater. Space Heater somehow sucked. It reeked of outside influence and an attempt to pander to something or someone, be it hipsters or MTV, I don’t know. The Reverend must have been making a bid for more mass appeal. The semi recent movie Home Fries (which was a charming flop) featured Drew Barymore, Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore) and about 50 different Reverend songs on the soundtrack. I may be wrong about the reasons or the influence, but the end result of Space Heater was bland and disappointing. All bands, no matter how great, will eventually churn out crap if they stick together long enough. I was anticipating crossing the Reverend off my list when Spend a Night in the Box came out, and it was with great trepidation that I purchased it. Fans of the Reverend can let out a collective sigh of relief because the Reverend is back. Spend a Night in the Box is a no-nonsense return to the roots of what the Reverend and crew do best. It’s the most basic early rock and roll style recording of any of his past major releases. The sense of humor is still there, though somewhat subdued compared to earlier recordings that seperated the Reverend from being just another rockabilly combo. The clerk at the record store must not have seen Home Fries. He recommended this record but was completely unaware of any previous efforts. He did reassure me that “This guy is an amazing guitar player. By the end of the first song it’s like you’re at a raging party and you’ve just realized that you’re not drunk yet…” Spend a Night in the Box is solid. It’s not their funniest record, but the Reverend still has it. Pure rock and roll. The same kind that your parent’s parent’s would recognize. It’s not just a tribute, it’s a complete mastery of the subject. Bill Haley and the Comets should approve.
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