A P.A.W.S. CD Review 
Hershey and the 12 Bars: "Greatest Hits Vol. 2"
In the country music field the reviewers often refer to 'crossover albums' and 'crossover artists', basically meaning music which reaches far outside the rules and conventions of the established pattern, thereby (hopefully) gaining a new, often rock/pop-oriented audience. Sadly, I seldom appreciate those artists, instead regarding them as bland sellouts, leaving timehonoured traditions behind in search of the mighty dollar.... Oh well.

But, being a most illogical person, when it comes to The Blues I often put on another pair of glasses (or earphones), instead praising bands who dare to modernize the sound and the lyrics - without entering the Terrible Land of the Never Ending Guitar Orgy.

Hershey and The 12 Bars "Greatest Hits Volume 2" is therefore a prime example of excellent crossover blues, being crammed with 70 minutes of inventive music. Sure, there's lots of solid blues fare here, but my mind also wanders off in the direction of two favourite bands of long standing: Roger Chapman's amazing Shortlist and the brilliant Steely Dan crew. Add to this a vocalist (Mr. Shirman) with lots of personality and a distinct talent for songwriting: how could they go wrong?

"Lonely Town, Lonely Street" (Withers) delivers tough and jerky modern stuff, semi-psychedelic guitar lines, great piano tinkling.
"This Time I'm Gone For Good" (D. Malone/ D. Perry) is a brilliantly arranged landscape of sound, a cavernlike intro, burbling 'n' swooshing keyboards. Masterful.
"The Undertaker" (Prince etc.) to me merges one spoonful Shortlist with a measure Steely Dan: modern, aggressive, with a swooping distorted guitar and insistent voices.
"Shot In The Dark" (Shirman), a bit Steely-ish again, great harp, great guitar, what can I say?
"Sweet Memories" (Shirman) is soulful stuff, powerful arrangement, impressive keys. Cool tempo change with muscular guitar break.
And much much more: swinging blues in "New Man" (Shirman), witty lyrics & slithering slide guitar in "The Blues Just Ain't The Same Any More" (Shirman) , a l-o-n-g funky "Voodoo Chile" (yessir: Hendrix)...

I realize the CD's title is a bit tongue-in-cheek. If life was fair it COULD have been a greatest hits album. It can still be: it should not be left tucked away on a 'stone blues' record shelf in the shop, it should be flaunted out front, gaining that new audience it deserves

says Christer
Febr. 19 2001

Check out our Hershey pages in our 'Knights In Blue Denim' section on U.K. blues!