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Reverend Horton Heat Brings a Solo Acoustic Show And Amusing Stories to Seattle’s Tractor Tavern, by Holly Homan

On Saturday night after spending all day at the Punk Rock Flea Market selling my wares, I headed to the Tractor Tavern in Seattle’s old Ballard neighborhood. Playing was the Reverend Horton Heat doing a (semi) solo acoustic show without his long-time sidekick Jimbo on bass and no drummer.

I arrived just after eight (did I mention it’s a royal pain to find parking in old Ballard?) and the Rev was already on stage. This was also a sit down show with chairs on the dance floor. While I scratched my head over that, I listened to the Rev tell funny life stories beginning with the time as a youngster he met then President Lindon Johnson who was drunk as a proverbial skunk.

He also told an amusing story of the first time the band played Seattle and how Jimbo had sliced open a finger on one of his bass strings and was bleeding everywhere until he stopped long enough to paint a cross on his forehead with his blood. Unbeknownst to them the founders of Sub Pop were sitting in the audience and signed the band that night.

Part way through the show he brought out an accompanist on vocals and acoustic guitar whom he introduced as Dale Watson. Dale was almost a Johnny Cash lookalike save for the fact he had a starched white pompadour. When the two did a cover of Folsom Prison Blues Dale hit the low notes so perfectly, if I had been blind I would have been convinced I’d been catapulted back in time and was hearing the Man In Black himself singing. Dale also proved every bit the amusing story teller as the Rev. The duo was a lively and humorous combo.

One of the highlights was toward the end when they performed a cover of King of the Road where the Rev crooned like the late great Pete Seeger.

Then suddenly the show was over. It was only 9:45. Tavern shows don’t end at 9:45. Come back. You just got on stage. Oh, wait, they played for nearly an hour and a half. How could that be? How did this evening go by so fast? Well, you know what they say about time when you’re having fun. I got over not seeing a psychobilly show and instead being treated to a Johnny Cash style country show and I had a wonderful time. I’m still scratching my head wondering how an hour and a half seemed like 20 minutes.

– Photos property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.

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