I almost filed this under “Classic Covers” as it’s a whole album of tracks heartlessly ripped from the loving grip of their original artists and forced into a new genre at the manipulative hands of Bob Wayne.
You see Bob lost a bet. A simple challenge to shoot an apple off a friend’s head. And he missed. Specifically, he missed the apple and hit his friend several times in the chest.
It meant he had to pay a forfeit and that was the first cover to be written for the album, “All About That Bass”. Bob took his sense of humour and Southern twang, turning this pop song into a decent upbeat country number. For Bob is a country artist and isn’t ashamed of it.
Honestly, I’ve got nothing against country. It’s generally played by talented musicians who sing about how miserable they are and how much they want to drink beer/whisky, kill people, kill themselves or rail about a lover who’s spurned them. Other than the tempo, tell me how this differs to half the rock and metal acts out there? Other than the Stetsons.
The majority of songs on Hits The Hits are rock (by which I mean that the originals were). I recognised eight out of the thirteen straight away, the others being predominantly more modern pop numbers that I’d not heard of. Essentially, Bob’s done what Hayseed Dixie did when they were throwing out albums full of covers – it’s that kind of mix, though his take on the country sound is different to their bluegrass flavour being more Dwight Yoakam than The Stanley Brothers.
Every song hasn’t been tackled in the same way. Just as rock has different genres and tones, so does country and these have been dug into to provide a lot of variety across the thirteen numbers. While I loved the whole thing pretty much, it’s not for everyone. Take “Sympathy For The Devil”, for example. I think this is a brilliant song, one of the best on the album, with the “Devil Went Down To Georgia”-style fiddle fitting perfectly with Bob’s adaptation.
“Sweet Child of Mine” is still done in a balladic style, but very much one from the southern states rather than California. The Offspring’s “The Kids Aren’t Alright” has been changed from it’s punky anthem roots into a toe-tapping tale of woe. If there’s one song that’s pretty close to the original, it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under The Bridge” but that doesn’t stop it being a good cover all the same.
Credit also has to go to the band who back Bob across the record as well as the many guest musicians who add their talent – vocal and instrumental – the tracks.
This is, in your reviewer’s humble opinion, a great album. Bob’s YouTube channel is also well worth checking out. As well as being a decent musician, he’s actually quite a funny guy.