Regular Afterworders might have noticed I’ve posted a couple of clips featuring the Hardchargers recently. The ‘Chargers feature ‘Lonesome’ Chris Todd (electric guitar/resonator/vocal), Richard ‘Hodge’ Hodgen (dr/washboard) and Dave ‘Laughing Boy’ Thompson (bass/ukulele bass).
They are the missing link between Charley Patton and the Who – well, I think so. Blistering, telepathic, intense rock with howling field hollers and skiffle technology. After seven years playing up and down Ireland in a status somewhere between semi-pro and pro, up to 80 gigs a year (which in Ireland, trust me, is some going – it has nowhere near the live infrastructure or opportunities of Britain or Northern Europe), the first five months of 2017 will see a short sabbatical in above-ground ‘Charger activity.
A devut album, however, is being recorded right now with engineer ‘Late-Night Tony’ Furnell in Belfast, provisionally entitled ‘Scarecrow’, to be released nationally in May, at which point the chaps will tour Ireland. Hopefully, by then, cunning plans having been (a) thought of and (b) come to fruition, opportunities to play further afield, including Britain, will have solidified.
The vinyl-length album will feature 8 tracks – 6 cherry-picked originals and 2 blues classics in ‘Chargerified form – and include textures enriched by Scott Flanigan (Hammond), Linley Hamilton (brass), Amanda Agnew (backing vocal) and a mysterious banjo player.
In the meantime, ‘Lonesome’ Chris can be seen around Britain during Spring 2017 playing lead guitar in Billy ‘Boy’ Miskimmin’s Mercy Lounge.
I’ve been chuffed to have been involved, oiling a couple of wheels around the album project, and hopefully Afterworders will like the end result or maybe get a chance to hear them live in 2017.
If anyone wants to recommend any gigs/bookers local to you that might be up for an evening of Hardcharger intensity, or an evening of the Hardchargers in 1930s duo form (Chris & Hodge), feel free – I’ll pass the info on. Getting an agent for Britain is currently on the table. (A standard show is 2 1/2 hours in three parts: resonater/washboard/uke bass downhome grooves; electric originals; then a handful of blistering blues/rock covers at the end.)
So, you heard it here first. Meanwhile, here’s a clip of the chaps having some fun with ‘Apache’ at a show in Dublin a few months back.