The Kentucky Headhunters
September 15, 2022
Newberry Opera House
Review by Joseph Hett
The Kentucky Headhunters Brought A Party To Newberry
The Kentucky Headhunters brought their rocking country to the historic Newberry Opera House in Newberry, SC on Thursday night.
Brothers Richard Young (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Fred Young (drums), Greg Martin (lead guitar) and Doug Phelps (vocals/bass) came out to a montage of songs ranging from “Blue Moon of Kentucky” to “Sunshine of Your Love.”
The Kentucky Headhunters got the foot stomping started with “It’s Chitlin’ Time,” “Deep South Blues Again” and “Rag Top.” Throughout the evening, Richard Young and Phelps would take turns on lead vocals – with Richard Young getting the more bluesy tunes and Phelps getting the more country tunes.
“Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine” really got everyone perked up. This extended jam even featured Martin throwing in a “Joy to the World” (the Christmas carol) riff at the end. Martin was a master of the guitar all night long – creating riffs and blazing solos.
To the crowd’s delight, they featured “The House of the Rising Sun.” It included an ode to “Gilligan’s Island” with the “three hour tour” lyrics. It also ended with the intro chords of “Stairway to Heaven.”
Richard Young spoke about being away from family during the pandemic and recording their new album titled “…That’s A Fact Jack!” They then showcased the Christmas themed “Let’s All Get Together and Fight.” Richard Young also noted that the Kentucky Headhunters worked with the late Johnnie Johnson on 1993’s album “That’ll Work.” They then spotlighted the catchy “Stumblin’.”
After “Some Folks Like to Steal,” the blues were on full display with Freddie King’s “Have You Ever Loved a Woman.” Martin really had the guitar strings screaming on that one. Next up was the fun “Rock ‘n’ Roll Angel.”
Richard Young said some girls at their farm asked them when were they going to write a pretty song about them instead of the usual party songs. That led them to write “Baby, You’re Too Much to Lose.”
They cranked it back up with “My Daddy Was a Milkman” and “Oh Lonesome Me.” Fred Young, who donned his signature coonskin cap to start the show, performed a monster drum solo. The rest of the band came out for Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky.”
“Dumas Walker” and “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” closed out the set. For the encore, they performed the Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” with a “Hey Jude” ending.
After all of these years, the Kentucky Headhunters are still going strong. Their unique brand of rocking country always belongs at a party!