The Headlocks
'Most Golden Goose'

 by Johanna B. Bodde

The Headlocks
'Most Golden Goose'
(Self-Released, 2014) 

BIO of The Headlocks

Led by talented singer-songwriter Rob T. Carey, The Headlocks nail down the soul of rock & roll in a way that we haven't seen in too darned long. Once described as 'the quintessential barroom band', these Staten Island natives are long-time favorites in New York City's rock and blues clubs, as well as on college campuses and festival stages.

'Most Golden Goose', the band’s newly released sophomore album, is a finely crafted collection of lyrically rich and rhythmically rousing songs, best enjoyed while on the move, whether driving cross country, flying on a plane, sitting on the subway / bus / train, or swaying in the soft glow of a dimly lit bar scene.

The Headlocks’ musical alchemy transports the listener to spaces and places beyond the hustle and bustle of everyday existence, on a roots rock & roll inspired journey through the hungers of the heart, melees of the mind, and ever evolving seasons of the soul.

Expanding on the rhythms and grooves of the band’s critically acclaimed first album, 'Cuckoo Bird' (2009) and organically formed through countless sessions of jamming and recording with Frank Cavallo on drums, Dan Gallagher on atmospheric slide and electric guitar, Nick Purpura on gritty rock guitar, and Joe Broncato on bass, 'Most Golden Goose' is a timeless triumph of a second studio record for The Headlocks. The album includes production and engineering help from experts like Grammy Award winning mixer Brian Vibberts and Gavin Lurssen, who worked on the legendary soundtrack for the Cohen Bros. Film "Oh Brother Where Art Thou".

From Staten Island Advance:

The band, a Staten Island mainstay at this point, changed almost entirely from its first album, 'Cuckoo Bird', Rob T. Carey said. 
"In five years, it's gone from thirteen to five of us. A lot of people were just coming and going." He said the long process of producing 'Most Golden Goose' and releasing it independent of a label meant there were no deadlines. The sleeve of the album states that it was 'recorded patiently from April 1, 2011, until September 2013'. He and his bandmates had all the time they needed to refine it.

Below a cast of players, the sleeve reads: "This album was a long, turning and sometimes wild journey for the band, filled with the most golden discoveries."
Carey wants this one to be worthy of radio play and films - and it will be. Many of the songs from this album and his solo albums will appear in the documentary film, "Building Magic" about a magician he met while hitchhiking through the Southern states in his early 20s. 

Though created on Staten Island's North Shore, the songs drip with the kind of bluesy rhythms that would transport one to some Georgian porch, sweet tea in hand. Though unintentional, the five bandmates take their influences from groups like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin and The Doors.
For this album, the band wanted to get back to the roots of rock & roll. Several songs have the same booming excitement and rolling backbeat heard in early rock classics.

ALBUM of The Headlocks:

1. "Dream While You're Awake": Opener of epic proportions, that wins any hesitating listener over immediately! Rob T. Carey has an impressive voice, with a beautiful soul and steel timbre plus lots of confidence. Let's not forget, the guitar parts are top notch too!

2. "She's Gonna Explode": A beautiful twin song to the first track, one dash down in tempo, with a fine chorus. Catchy and melodic in powerpop style. Liana Wilson signed on for the additional vocals of these first two tracks.

3. "February Roses": A different sound here, nervous and edgy and raw. Late sixties style bluesrock, with a fierce harmonica and feverish guitars.

4. "In The Water": A sudden change again, to flowing folkrock. Optimistic on that nice beat, with a hypnotizing chorus - they even start whistling, now the sun definitely breaks through!

5. "Everybody Wants A Piece Of The Pie": Funny title, but this statement is true indeed! The music stays in the same vein as the previous track, this song gets a countryrock touch, thanks to the pedal steel, reminiscent of The Flying Burrito Brothers.

6. "Running Free": We go back to the late sixties for sturdy, dynamic Rolling Stones type of rock. This album has an overall nostalgic feeling, the band gives their own touch to rock & roll history.

7. "New Utrecht And 85th": A very nice little interlude, where we hear a train roll by.

8. "Plenty Of Ways To Die": The songtitles are grouped in two parts on the back and this is apparently the beginning of part B. A song with a bit of an early Green On Red feeling. A realistic ballad in a very sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar and keyboards. I love that little bird, singing on the end.

9. "Starting Over": The Headlocks create a great groovy radio friendly sound for this very powerful song.

10. "Captain Culver": Another interesting soundscape - with the voice of Captain Culver over the airplane intercom.

11. "Way Up Wait Up": The band doesn't shy away from using the sh*t word, complimenting a girl on her eyes and getting a kiss on the lips - all of that in the same verse. In the meantime the sound stays enjoyable and poppy.

12. "This Is Awesome": An intermezzo with a voice and a retorted music sample.

13. "Stayin' In The Game": Back to the classic blues sound, Rob T. Carey plays fluent harmonica, sings here like Amberjack Rice, although the voice is not so deep. Cool piano. The songwriting is good, in their own Headlocks sound but keeping it recognizable at the same time.

14. "The Town Tinker": The last interlude, a very short soundscape.

15. "(Why Don't You) Get Right": A noisy bluesrocker to close off, sturdy and funky, with a cool, surprising trumpet solo at the end.
Strange enough, the album shows two very short hidden tracks, but they contain nothing - just silence!

Although it never gets as good again as in the first two tracks, this is a very enjoyable, energetic and inspired album. It looks very good too, with the colorful goose on the cover, the funny birdman drawing on the back and that tiny cuckoo next to the credits.

All the players, the regular band line-up as well as the guests, are fine musicians and (background) vocalists. I think their strongest point is the folk and country rock, in the blues and blues rock songs they sound less original. Well, the whole album is an obvious wink at all the variations on rock & roll from the past, which makes mostly (except for one sudden change) a fitting combination. Thanks to these little interesting intermezzos!
Written & compiled by Johanna J. Bodde - May 3rd, 2015.