Bad to the Bone: George Thorogood & The Destroyers

Rating: 95%

George_Thorogood_&_The_Destroyers_-_Bad_To_The_BoneSo, George T. only wrote three of the songs on this 1982 “Bad To The Bone” record. Who cares, right? Not when the other songs are done up in George Thorogood fashion and style. So grab a few beers and get ready for a party down memory lane.

So, it’s Blues mixed with dash of Country and Rock n’ Roll. Great mixture of genres for George Thorogood’s style of slide guitar. The way George adopts these songs from other artists and creates arrangements to suit his band is amazing. It’s got soul, it’s got talent, and it’s got swing. It’ll leave you thirsty for more.

The musicianship is very tight.  Billy Blough’s bass lines are very good. The drumming of Jeff Simon is good and the added saxophone by Hank Carter makes the music even more energized. You add that along with the whiskey drench vocals and the beer soaked style of the guitar, you have a true sound unlike any other. To this day, I still think that Thorogood is under rated and unappreciated by Rock n’ Roll. 

Track listing:

“Back to Wentzville” (George Thorogood) – 3:30
“Blue Highway” (Nick Gravenites, David Getz) – 4:44
“Nobody but Me” (The Isley Brothers) – 3:28
“It’s a Sin” (Jimmy Reed) – 3:32
“New Boogie Chillun” (John Lee Hooker) – 5:03
“Bad to the Bone” (George Thorogood) – 4:52
“Miss Luann” (George Thorogood) – 4:13
“As the Years Go Passing By” (Deadric Malone) – 5:03
“No Particular Place to Go” (Chuck Berry) – 4:00
“Wanted Man” (Bob Dylan) – 3:12

Move It On Over: George Thorogood Delaware Destroyers

Rating: 90%

220px-moveitonoverSo, I recently picked up George Thorogood’s second record, “Move It On Over” on vinyl released in 1978. I had forgotten how good this record was, even though, none of the songs were written by George himself. But, then again, the song arrangements are done in Thorogood fashion and are among some of his most popular hits. It was this record that made George Thorogood into what he became and what he is today.

The entire record flows so good and for me, at some points, I wish the album would just keep going. It just keeps on rocking! I love George Thorogood’s style of guitar picking and slide work which I think is becoming a lost art in today’s music word. I love his whiskey drenched vocal style as well. It’s raw, powerful and one of a kind. When you hear a George Thorogood song, you know it’s him.

The other musicians are great too. The musicianship is super tight. You can tell they are having fun while playing. Hammering along on the bass guitar is Billy Blough. Pounding on those drums is Jeff Simon. Then how can one go wrong with the name of Uncle Meat Pennington? Well he’s an added bonus as he plays the tambourine and maracas.

This album pays tribute to many of George Thorogood’s influences from Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon to Elmore James. The songs themselves are not written by George Thorogood as stated, but they are structured very well. His adoption and style as I mentioned, makes them his. George may not be good looking, but damn, he sure can play that guitar. He can adopt Country, Bluegrass,Blues and Rock n Roll and produce a style that is so unique. I personally can’t think of another guitarist who can do what George Thorogood does. The music that is produced on this record are raw and emotional. This record is just plain good ol’ Blues done in good ol’ Rock n’ Roll fashion. In fact, I think I’ll end up picking up my guitar and try to play along.

Track listing:

“Move It On Over” (Hank Williams) – 4:16
“Who Do You Love?” (Ellas McDaniel) – 4:15
“The Sky Is Crying” (Elmore James, Morgan Robinson) – 5:09
“Cocaine Blues” (T.J. Arnall) – 2:48
“It Wasn’t Me” (Chuck Berry) – 3:54
“That Same Thing” (Willie Dixon) – 3:05
“So Much Trouble” (Brownie McGhee) – 3:15
“I’m Just Your Good Thing” (James Moore) – 3:29
“Baby Please Set a Date” (Homesick James Williamson) – 4:42
“New Hawaiian Boogie” (Elmore James) – 4:34

Blue Matter: Savoy Brown

Rating: 90%

Blue_Matter_(album).jpegIn 1969, “Blue Matter” by the British Blues band Savoy Brown was released. The band at the time was lead vocalist, pianist & and guitarist Chris Youlden, lead guitarist, harmonica, & pianist Kim Simmonds, guitarist Dave Peverett, bassists Tone Stevens & Rivers Jobe, drummer Roger Earl and pianist Bob Hall.

This record is outstanding! The melodies are prefect. The style of rock and blues put together on this record is mellow and relaxing. It’s like high class bar room music. You know the kind of music you want to hear while you’re smoking a cigarette and sipping whiskey. The song structures are complied nicely. There’s a certain raw edge to the overall songs themselves. One thing for sure, is that this record will have you stomping your toe and snapping your finger. The sound and overall quality of the music is good. Lot’s of guitar and piano scales. The tempos move at an even keel.

The musicianship is very tight. With all of the instrumentation, the overall feel is not overwhelming. Each musician seems to know his place and how to play the Blues comparable to that of John Lee Hooker or Muddy Waters. The vocals are scorching hot. The guitars are ol’ so good. Especially on the hard hitting John Lee Hooker cover “Don’t Turn Me from Your Door.” Lot’s of great scales on each song. The leads are brilliantly conducted. Lot’s of deep tone and yes, there is a little fuzz tone with shrieking feedback. The bass is also something you’ll notice right away. The scales being used, the sound itself and how it compliments the guitars and drums is what really steals the show. The piano work is another thing you’ll notice. The piano really sets off the sound. It’s a nice added touch. The rhythm section of the horns is also worthy to note on the song, “Grits Ain’t Groceries.” The drum lines are out of this world. Lot’s of great tempos and good beats.

Highlights includes the song “Train to Nowhere.” It’s one of those songs that has a feeling that is real mellow and when you think it’s going to explode into something heavy, the song surprises you with mild melody with a great guitar solo. The last three tracks are recorded live and are among the heavier sounding Blues music that leaves you wanting more. They don’t make music that sounds like this anymore.

Track Listing:

“Train to Nowhere” – 4:12
“Tolling Bells”  – 6:33
“She’s Got a Ring in His Nose and a Ring on Her Hand” – 3:07
“Vicksburg Blues” – 4:00
“Don’t Turn Me from Your Door” – 5:04
“Grits Ain’t Groceries (All Around the World)” – 2:42
“May Be Wrong” – 7:50
“Louisiana Blues” – 9:06
“It Hurts Me Too” – 6:53

Best of Ray Charles

Rating: 100%

raycharles.jpgI picked up this 1983 release “The Best of Ray Charles” on vinyl. There is good collection of songs from the many genres that Ray Charles has been known to play from Blues, Jazz, to Swing and Soul. I love hearing older music like this on my record player. To me, it sounds natural.

Anyway, he’s one of the best pianists, songwriters and performers of all time. The music he wrote was from the heart and soul. Putting out music from 1949 to the day he died. He has over 55 records and 127 singles to his name.

This record contains many of the songs from his earlier years going back to the late 1940’s and 1950’s. It’s emotional, raw and has feeling. The music is a collection of blues influences that showcase his Funk and Jazz styles to his orchestra. So, kick back, relax and just enjoy. It’s like fine wine, the older it is, the best it gets.

Track listing:

A1 Going Down Slow 2:45
A2 All Night Long 3:05
A3 I’m Givin’ Up 3:02
A4 Guitar Blues 2:32
A5 Talkin’ ‘Bout You 3:05
B1 I Found My Baby There 3:22
B2 I’m Wonderin’ & Wonderin’ 3:14
B3 By Myself 2:28
B4 Snowfall 2:51

Born To Be Bad: George Thorogood & The Destroyers

Rating: 85%

BornToBeBadSo, many consider George Thorogood as a guy stuck in the same old rut and releasing the same old music since 1977. But, if he changed his style, everyone would’ve called him a sell out. So what would one expect? Well, you keep on keeping on with the boogie woggie music that you’re known for. “Born to be Bad” released in 1988 was no exception. Why sell out to the power ballads of the Hair Metal scene that was at it’s high-tide? George Thorogood’s own brand of the Blues and Rock n’ Roll is just that, it’s hard ass kicking music with attitude. George Thorogood never sold out his sound and his brand of music to make a buck.

This record never gets it’s due and that’s a shame. This record has some of the best Blues, R&B, County and Rockabilly music that came out in the late 1980’s. His slide work on the guitar is among the best of guitarist. Musically, the highlights are “You Talk Too Much”, “Born to Be Bad”, “Treat Her Right”, “I Really Like Girls”, and “I’m Movin’ On.” Although, the entire record is good.

The way he plays, is amazing. George Thorogood should be considered as among the best of the modern Blues and Rock guitarist, but hasn’t made the top 100 of any lists that I am aware of.

Track listing:

“Shake Your Money Maker” (Elmore James) – 3:29
“You Talk Too Much” (George Thorogood) – 4:35
“Highway 49” (Big Joe Williams) 49 – 5:46
“Born to Be Bad” (Thorogood) – 3:34
“You Can’t Catch Me” (Chuck Berry) – 3:45
“I’m Ready” (Sylvester Bradford, Fats Domino, Al Lewis) – 3:20
“Treat Her Right” (Roy Head, Gene Kurtz) – 3:32
“I Really Like Girls” (Thorogood) – 3:49
“Smokestack Lightning” (Howlin’ Wolf) – 3:15
“I’m Movin’ On” (Hank Snow) – 3:58

Maverick: George Thorogood and the Destoryers

Rating: 90%

George_Thorogood_Mavrick.jpgWhen it comes to George Thorogood, you can expect a full barrage of guitar that is very high energy that shreds each note from start to finish. George Thorogood brings to airwaves a style of boogie music, drenched in ol’fashion Rock n’ Roll, heavily influenced by traditional Blues with a dash of Country music. His music has been covered by Rock and Country artists alike.

Maverick released in 1985, is just another example of George Thorogood’s hard hitting style of Rock n’ Roll. Now, critics said this album sucked because there are only a few songs that Thorogood actually wrote. The rest are covers. But what the critics failed to realize, is that Thorogood takes those covers and converts them into his own style and makes them his own. This allows Thorogood to pay tribute to those artists that influenced him.

Musically, Maverick is a good combination of songs done the Destroyers’s way. They are hard hitting, fast tempo with attitude. This is the type of music that will get you dancing or drinking. George’s guitar work of finger picking and slide leads are awesome. His style of playing is very traditional of that of the Blues. He brings back some of the forgotten artists like Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins and John Lee Hooker on this album. But, two of his famous songs also were released on this album, “Gear Jammer” and “I Drink Alone”. The critics may not have given this album it’s due, but, I enjoyed it.

Track listing:

“Gear Jammer” (George Thorogood) – 4:39
“I Drink Alone” (Thorogood) – 4:35
“Willie and the Hand Jive” (Johnny Otis) – 4:09
“What a Price” (Fats Domino, Murphy Maddux, Jack Jessup) – 2:48
“Long Gone” (Thorogood) – 4:30
“Dixie Fried” (Carl Perkins, Howard Griffin) – 3:46
“Crawlin’ King Snake” (John Lee Hooker) – 4:02
“Memphis/Little Marie” (Chuck Berry) – 5:54
“Woman with the Blues” (Thorogood) – 3:34
“Go, Go, Go” (Chuck Berry) – 3:32
“The Ballad of Maverick” (David Buttolph, Paul Francis Webster) – 2:05

Taking Care Of Business: James Cotton Blues Band

Rating: 100%

taking-care-of-business.jpg

In 1970, James Cotton and his Blues Band released “Taking Care of Business.” This album is what modern blues is ALL about. It’s got plenty of feeling, grooves, guitar licks, harp, funk, and soul from the opening track to the closing. The influence that James Cotton has on many musicians can still be heard today with bands like the Dave Mathews  Band or the Blues Brothers Band.

Vocalist James Cotton is one hell of a talented man on the harmonica. He plays the harp like no other. He began his career in 1950 with Howlin’ Wolf. He also played in the Muddy Waters Band. Almost twenty years, he is still going strong on this record. His vocal and harp style is very traditional that still influences musicians to this day. His style is rooted deeply in Chicago Blues and Delta Blues.

This album features one of my favorite Blues guitarist, Matt “Guitar” Murphy who has been around playing along side musical acts like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Ike Turner and the one and only Howlin’ Wolf. Other notable musicians on this record are guitarist Todd Harry Rundgren, and bassist Stu Woods.

Musically, this album is very very good. It’s rich on soul, it’s rooted deeply in traditional Chicago Blues with a dash of Delta Blues thrown in. The musicianship is great from the piano, horns to the traditional guitar and bass.

The musical structures are well played, even though, James Cotton did not write any of the songs on this record. One song that really sticks out is “Nose Open” written by Matt Murphy. The mouth harp is excellent, the guitar work is amazing. The leads are wonderfully done. The vocals are brilliant. The horn sections are well done. Lots of upbeat tempos throughout the entire album with some slower tempos thrown in.

Track listing:

A1 The Sky Is Falling 3:57
A2 Long Distance Operator 5:20
A3 I’m A Free Man 2:34
A4 Can’t Live Without Love 4:24
A5 Kiddy Boy 4:03
B1 She Moves Me 4:25
B2 Tonight I Wanna Love Me A Stranger 3:08
B3 Nose Open 4:02
B4 Goodbye My Lady 3:05
B5 Georgia Swing 4:48