FIVE HORSE JOHNSON — The Mystery Spot (review)

FIVE HORSE JOHNSON — The Mystery Spot album cover Album · 2006 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Five Horse Johnson are an American Blues band from Toledo, Ohio who’s Classic Rock meets Blues direction makes them appealing to fans of Stoner Rock. The Mystery Spot was the band’s sixth full-length studio album and was released in 2006, making it the last release they would put out before going on a temporary hiatus.

If you are a fan of Clutch (especially their four most recent albums) then Five Horse Johnson are a band you are going to want to check out anyway, they share some sonic similarities and have toured and collaborated with each other on numerous occasions, as well as with similar artists.

This album actually features Clutch’s J.P Gastor behind the drum kit making this album in particular share a ‘feel’ with the Maryland based Stoner band. Gastor’s brilliant, understated Bonham influenced drumming style is utterly fantastic, and is hugely impressive without being flashy.

Although it does serve a great incentive to get people interested, there is actually a lot more to the band than just easy comparisons with bands like Clutch and Sixty Watt Shaman, or indeed with their influences like ZZ Top, Mountain, Blackfoot etc.

The band’s sound features a lot of slide guitar, harmonica and harp (the harmonica-like one, not the stringed one) and it takes the best part of 70s rock and updates it a modern feel and spices it with earthy everyman vocals and lyrics. If you can imagine what a Stoner Rock band would sound like if they had never heard any Black Sabbath, then that is as close an approximation to their actual sound as you are likely to get.

There are a lot of great, catchy songs on this record. The whole thing flows well from beginning to end and keeps a pretty strict hold on the Blues Rock formula without becoming dull. Highlights including ‘Ten-Cent Dynamite,’ ‘… Of Ditch Diggers And Drowning Men,’ and ‘Three Hearts’ all of which are of the highest quality not only within the confines of the record, but in the band’s entire repertoire!

Overall, I would highly recommend Five Horse Johnson to anyone with an interest in Classic Rock or Stoner Rock… or indeed to most people with an interest in The Blues. Five Horse Johnson are a very enjoyable and hugely underrated band, who make a consistent stream of high quality music. Any of their albums would make a fine addition to your collection, and The Mystery Spot is no exception.
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