Kentucky Headhunters portrait The Kentucky Headhunters were raucous Southern-rockers who had some decent-sized hits in the Country charts in the 1990s, although many folks might consider them more of a rock band. Brothers Doug and Ricky Lee Phelps were in the band for its early '90s heyday, then left to try a separate career as a brother duo, with Doug Phelps rejoining the Headhunters a couple of years later, after the departure of lead singer Mark Orr. Here's a quick look at their work...

Discography - Best-Ofs

The Kentucky Headhunters "The Best Of The Kentucky Headhunters: Still Picking" (Mercury, 1994)
This best-of set draws mainly on their first three albums, along with a couple of cover tunes from various artist collections...

The Kentucky Headhunters "Flying Under The Radar" (CBUJ, 2006)

Discography - Albums

The Kentucky Headhunters "Pickin' On Nashville" (Mercury, 1989)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Electric Barnyard" (Mercury, 1991)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Rave On!!" (Mercury, 1993)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Stompin' Grounds" (BNA, 1997)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Songs From The Grass String Ranch" (Audium, 2000)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Soul" (Audium, 2003)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Big Boss Man" (CBUJ, 2005)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Dixie Lullabies" (Red Dirt Music, 2011)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Dixie Lullabies" (Red Dirt Music, 2011)
(Produced by Kentucky Headhunters, Wayd Battle & Richie Owens)

The Kentucky Headhunters "Midnight Special" (Red Bus Digital, 2011)

Related Records

Brother Phelps "Let Go" (Elektra, 1993)
(Produced by Doug & Ricky Lee Phelps)

Pretty good! Doug Phelps and Ricky Lee Phelps were both from the Kentucky Headhunters and decided to go "solo" in the early '90s, singing as a redneck-y brother act. This album is fun -- they step back from the driving, rock-heavy sound of the Headhunters and dig into some sweet-sounding, old-fashioned country. Their gritty harmony vocals and full embrace of punchy, beer-soaked, modern-day honkytonk brings to mind the best work of Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley, or maybe the early stuff by Confederate Railroad. Most of the songs on here are Phelps originals, and the brothers produced the record themselves... Looks like their instincts were right on the money: the title track became a Top Ten hit, and while they never repeated that success, they left behind a fine toe-tapping, beer-drinkin' record that would make a good soundtrack to a long night down at your local bar. Recommended.

Brother Phelps "Anyway The Wind Blows" (Asylum, 1995)
(Produced by Kyle Lehning, Doug & Ricky Lee Phelps)

This is a big disappointment. The vitality and excitement of their first album is almost totally gone here... Everything seems softer and more controlled, with formulaic, unadventurous arrangements, jaded studio musicianship and fairly weak vocal delivery. They cover Firefall's '70s hit "Cinderella," which should have been pretty fun, but again the performance is too controlled and actually a bit dull; they also sing a couple of Steve Earle songs, which is nice, but again, these versions aren't great. Big brother Ricky Lee Phelps bathes in the spotlight as a solo vocalist on most tracks, and he sounds a little too Jimmy Buffett-ish for me... Overall, this is a pretty snoozy record, with nary a spontaneous or lively moment. It's all too factorymade and safe-sounding... A big disappointment considering how much fun their first record was. After this album tanked, Doug went back to the Headhunters; not sure what happened to Ricky Lee.


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