Feature Pure Hell Punks First Bestseller
“Feature Pure Hell: The First Forgotten album” by Billy Ray Cyrus is a rare confluence of musical talents coming together to make something absolutely amazing. These are rock and roll veterans, known for such hits as “Walk on the Wild Side,” that have gathered together to form what may very well be the most successful and popular rock band of all time. This is their story, as told to the music world by their front man-exploding vocalist, that you will want to hear. ” Feature Pure Hell ” is pure rock and roll at its best. What better way to start off an album than with one of the classics, “Walk on the Wild Side.” The lyrics are still rockabilly with none of the tired forced rhythms that plague so many of today’s albums.
Billy Ray Cyrus spares a few words about his debut album. He admits that it was difficult to pick songs because he wanted them to be positive, yet not preachy. The result is very much a collaborative effort between the group and their road manager. It is a unique album in that the group never felt pressured to write or record.
Of course this is just a small part of this masterpiece. This album features some of the finest blues rockabilly talents known at the present. Frontman Billy Ray Cyrus sings about the glory days of rock and roll, while John Combs reminisces about his early years with the Highwaymen. Lyricist Don Williams has a song titled simply “Blues Man” that showcases his amazing voice and soulful melodies.
Lyricist Eric Clapton also makes an appearance on this album. His presence seems to lend the album a slightly more polished sound. However, there is no denying the raw edge that this band delivers on this album. Frontman Billy Ray Cyrus belts out his trademark “Whole Lotta Love” and singer/songwriter Eric Clapton adds his own personal touch with songs like “Tears In Heaven”. Both of these legendary musicians join Billy Ray on the acoustic version of “Tears In Heaven”, and the cover version of “My Sweet Lord”.
Another stellar artist who appears on the second disc of “Feature Pure Hell” is Elvis Presley. On this album he is joined by backup singers Jannick Daisy and Prisley dance instructor Pam Byrd. In addition, The King is also joined by his band The Thrill Killers for some of the best numbers on the album. Among the standouts on this disc are the stirring ballad “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “That’s All Right,” and “Hound Dog.” The King does not leave his mark on this album with any of his usual powerhouse hits such as “That’s All Right,” but it is a remarkable feat to have so many artists who have become established to feature on one album.
Outstanding lyricists include Robert Johnson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Johnny Jenkins. It is interesting to note that the very first song on this album by a black artist (known at the time to be Robert Johnson) is a gospel rendition of “My Old School.” The rhythm and tone are evenly matched and the lyrics have the feel of gospel music. This track remains in the top ten for the very reason that it is a good song and it was an introduction to gospel and rhythm & blues. It is the very first single that John Williams, who was known to be working with pianist Louis Armstrong, recorded.
“Feature Pure Hell” goes into detail about the band members who were there during the making of this album. Among those mentioned are vocalist/singer Lee Ritenour, bassist/lead guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, keyboards player/percussionist Herb Ellis, and more. This is an excellent set of lyrics and the band gets a lot of attention for their effort. They had prior experience in playing together as the Backyard Boys. While this is only a brief overview of the band, it does provide a history lesson for those interested in the music of that era.
While the first four or five songs on the album are great, this album is the band’s best work. The quality of this recording surpasses the first, second, and third efforts. It is worth noting that unlike the previous albums, this is not a throwback type album. It is considered to be an important milestone in the careers of both Lee Ritenour and Tommy Emmanuel. It is the first finest recording to be issued from the band.