BILLY BUTCHER – Penny Dreadful

BILLY BUTCHER - Penny Dreadful


Outlaw Entertainment
Release date: March 25, 2004 in Canada and shortly thereafter elsewhere

Guitars: A-
Bass: B+
Percussion: C
Vocals: D+
Lyrics: C+
Recording Quality: A
Originality: B
Overall Rating: C+

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Billy Butcher is a trio hailing from East Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and is comprised of Pete Parker manhandling the axe and microphone, Rick Thulin assaulting the bass strings, and Rick Fedyk knocking out the drum fills. Penny Dreadful is the band’s debut CD – an upbeat blues-based rock ‘n’ roll album that has many notable stylistic tendencies to George Thorogood – 13 tracks of honest, straightforward, hard rock music with periodic piano and harmonica guest accompaniment, that is sure to get even the most nasty of rattlesnakes hiding out near the Texas ghost-town campfires dancing and swinging their coils to the beat.


Parker plays a mean guitar that’s almost as big as he is. With him in the lead, Billy Butcher quickly establishes original musical riffs that catch and keep the listener’s attention. The solid beats can cause even the most rhythmically challenged to want to get up and start dancing like they’re under the influence of a healthy dose of Jack Daniels/Peyote mixer. As with most trios, it is indeed essential for each band member to pull his weight, and Thulin definitely complements Parker well with his bass guitar play. With most bluesy bands, the percussion work typically takes less of a lead role, and Fedyk does just that, but there is more energy and speed coming from his drum kit than one might expect from this type of music – a nice addition which adds a heavier edge than what listeners may recall from anything produced by Thorogood in years prior. Musically, this album is simply filled with fun.


As good of a guitar player as Parker is, he’s that bad when it comes to vocals. The strength of the band, by far, is the music, yet most songs are filled with lyrics – more instrumental jam sessions should’ve been included and could have fit, because virtually every song on Penny Dreadful elapses 3 minutes or less. Although the lyrics are generally fun and glib, their delivery within the songs by Parker is too brash and at too high of a volume. The amusing music is cumbersomely contrasted by Parker’s “tough guy” singing approach, which unfortunately hinders the complete success of virtually every song.


Fans of the Thorogood style should definitely check out Billy Butcher, because Parker’s guitar work and the band’s musical sound is better than anything Thorogood ever put out. Lyrically, there’s no “one bourbon, one shot, one beer” anthem on Penny Dreadful, but it’s an album that can definitely serve a party atmosphere quite effectively. Parker’s vocals try to ruin the album, but the music is too strong and the brilliant grooves present in each song do their best to forgive his auditory peccadilloes.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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