16 Horsepower: Hoarse

Supercharged 1998 live set rides again.

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Fronted by the impassioned hellfire testimonials of David Eugene Edwards, Colorado-based 16 Horsepower started forging their gothic Americana in the early 90s, releasing four albums rootsified by Appalachian instrumentation but charged with supernatural Bad Seeds-style dynamics.

Recorded in May 1998 at Denver’s Bluebird Theatre (first released in 2000), Hoarse presented the band in their live element with drama-drenched missives such as Horse Head, South Pennsylvania Waltz and aptly titled Brimstone Rock joined by three revealing covers, which see Creedence’s Bad Moon Rising turned into the ominous portent of doom its lyrics always pointed at, Gun Club’s Fire Spirit (featuring future fallen French rock god Bertrand Cantat) falling slightly short of the original’s demonic intensity and Joy Division’s Day Of The Lords chillingly transformed into howling southern death rattle.

A good place for unfamiliar punters (and Cave fans) to enter a dark new world they might have missed first time around./o:p

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!