Katy didn't lie; she winked

The Herbie Hinkle Ensemble (Beazlheadmusic)

The Herbie Hinkle Ensemble

By David Lilly

Perhaps we can buy a thrill, after all. If you grant a degree of power to the spirit of music, emotion and your willingness to follow them, then in this CD by the Herbie Hinkle Ensemble, you might well hear an old (pre Aja) and wayward Steely Dan album. Any major dude would suspect that lead vocalist (and multi-instrumentalist) Jon Beazlie was an honor student at the University of Donald Fagen. Not only does Beazlie bear a vocal resemblance to Fagen, but also the liner notes (something about a genius rabbit locked in a cellar?) are clever and amusing.

To level the stage a bit, even Cathy Berberian would acknowledge that the HHE sound doesn't quite resonate with the excessively pristine, recorded shine of an album by that Steely Dan thingy, but perhaps in a moment of rapture, the HHE fan collective will chant, "Holy Chain Lightning!" All right already, show biz kids, enough with the Dan references.

The HHE's debut album begins with the pulse of some very pogo-worthy fuzz guitar. The band works up the instrumental beat for a few bars until Fagen, er, I mean Beazlie kicks in, singing, "69 V-dubby that'll make the earth shake/ White with rust and it makes me ache." I'm not sure if Mr. Beazlie, Joe Wheeler, Jeremy Smith, Bobby Hayes or the enigmatic Mr. Hinkle want you to dance or study in time to this music, but I'd wager they'll be happy if you do either one.

On the off-beat, one of the distinctly HHE songs is the mellow "Window," which is the first of this album's songs-most-likely-to conjure listeners into a fine meditative state, or at least gazing out the window as snow or rain falls, which can be quite meditative. Having been quite neurotic myself at one point in life, I recognize the lyrical value of "Mr. Mush Head," with Beazlie singing, "I don't know what you see in me lately/ Mr. Mush Head driving me crazy/ Over and over and over I'm hazy;" and "American Paranoia," with the lines, "Terror from the skies/ Tainted mail arrives/ What's the next disease/ Chicken pox or killer bees." Those songs are great candidates for the dance-music-for-neurotics section of the program. While your might want to check your program to see if you have entered the correct album, it's tough to go very wrong during this album's 45 minutes.

If you'd like to read up a little on this somewhat enigmatic musical unit, Rikki don't lose that URL: www.lmiacentral.com/Members/herbiehinkle.htm. You could also contact Mr. Beazlie via jonbeazlie@yahoo.com. I am not you, but if I were, I'd do both just to be sure.