Hellboys- Cha Cha With The Hellboys (Redmond Group)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. Cha Cha With The Hellboys
2. Hellboys Blessing
3. Don’t Tell My Wife
4. Chord From Hell
5. Children Leaving
6. Missed The Train
7. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
8. Robert Ain’t Your Father



Led by guitarist Tom Redmond, the Hellboys are basically a band of Robert Fripp’s disciples. Cha Cha With The Hellboys features many past and present collaborators and students of the iconic King Crimson guitarist – bassist Tony Levin, drummer Jerry Marotta, and guitarists Redmond, Tony Geballe and the California Guitar Trio (Paul Richards, Bert Lams and Hideyo Moriya). Fripp even joins in on a couple of tracks.

The music sounds quite similar to the California Guitar Trio’s output, except that there are some vocals, provided by Redmond, as well as some electric guitar, played by Geballe and Redmond. And that duo also compensates for the lack of a keyboardist by conjuring up some very cool guitar effects.

“Cha Cha With The Hellboys,” is, well, a cha cha with the Hellboys. With it Spanish flavored guitar and percussion and randomly thrown in “cha cha’s,” the number marks a pleasant way to start things off. “Hellboys Blessing” follows with layers upon layers of acoustic guitars and Geballe and Redmond’s electric guitars providing some excellent effects. And Redmond throws in some “ahhhs” that float gently above the wash of guitars.

“Don’t Tell My Wife” starts off with more acoustic action that leads into an excellent Levin bass line. The song sees Redmond singing, or more accurately, talking about a career musician who doesn’t “know C major for shit” and that he doesn’t want his wife to find out about it. A very strong, and humorous, song.

“Chord From Hell” features lots of weird percussion noises and guitar effects to start off the track before morphing into a fast-paced acoustic guitar battle. “Children Leaving” includes string quartet-like guitar effects from Geballe that beautifully back some quiet acoustic guitar. The 17-minute epic, “Missed The Train,” follows with power-tool sounding electric guitar and steady percussion and bass. Some growling vocals add more to the, strange as it may sound, acoustic industrial sound. Redmond’s Adrian Belew-like lead vocals kick in briefly before returning to acoustic mayhem. Some maniacal electric guitar keeps things moving before Marotta’s drumming briefly takes center stage. The guitars return before the track closes out with one of Fripp’s patented soundscapes.    

The mellow, faux-country tune “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” follows up with Redmond giving a perfectly fitting vocal for this track. The guitars are in their glory here, from the acoustic picking by Richards, Lams and Redmond to a fine electric solo from Geballe. Again, Levin and Marotta hold things together with their understated rhythm section.

Cha Cha… closes out with “Robert Ain’t Your Father,” a song that’s intro and outro really wouldn’t have sounded out of place on any of the 80’s King Crimson discs. But breaking the track up is a Cajun-like guitar and Fripp’s harmonica-sounding soundscape. 

Fans of Fripp, Levin, King Crimson and/or the California Guitar Trio should find something of interest on this disc. At the very least, it shows the influence that Fripp has had on a number of talented musicians.



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