Better Than the Rest: George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Rating: 85%

BetterThantheRestThis album was recorded in 1974, but was later released in 1979 as the third album once Thorogood had become better known. It was released in 1986 as “Nadine” which I had on CD.

George Thorogood sounds very raw vocally on this album. That may be due to the fact that this recording was when he was younger. His guitar playing is electrifying. The rhythm section consisting of bassist Michael Levine (whom the album is dedicate to), and drummer Jeff Simon really showcase some very nice melodies.

Although, none of the songs are written by Thorogood, he does have a way of making these songs his. Because of that, the only negative thing I have to say is the album is unoriginal. With that being said, all of the positive things I can say is that the album is raw, tuneful, and melodious. Vocally, it’s very raspy and raw. George has a very distinctive voice. 

All and all, when I found this in the record shop for $6.00, I have to by to it. This album was the last studio album I need for my vinyl collection aside from “Live”.

Track listing:

“In the Night Time” (Michael Henderson, Sylvester Rivers) – 3:08
“I’m Ready” (Willie Dixon) – 2:46
“Goodbye Baby” (Joe Josea, Jules Taub, Sam Ling) – 3:08
“Howlin for My Darling” (Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf) – 3:24
“My Weakness” (Vetter Smith, Wilson) – 2:26
“Nadine” (Chuck Berry) – 4:03
“My Way” (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart) – 1:56
“You’re Gonna Miss Me” (Eddie Jones) – 2:14
“Worried About My Baby” (Wolf) – 3:29
“Huckle Up Baby” (Bernard Besman, John Lee Hooker) – 2:24

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George Thorogood and the Destroyers: George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Rating: 95%

George_ThorogoodI recently picked this vinyl LP up at my local record store. I was pleased with the fact that this was the very first album by the band. So…1977 was the year that George Thorogood and the Destroyers released their debut record.

Musically, this album sets the career for young George Thorogood and his backing band. It’s Bluesy, hard rocking, heavy slide guitar drenched, and great sounding Rock n’ Roll. George Thorogood knows his way around the frets of his guitar with that metal slide. I can’t think of any modern musician that is that good with a slide. The rhythm section of guitarist  Ron Smith, bassist Billy Blough, and drummer Jeff Simon is outstanding. They provide some great sounding rhythms and even keel tempos. I love it when I hear musicians complimenting each other by their style of playing.

The music is raw and drenched with whisky. It’s so power driven by electricity that one can’t help to tap their foot or play air guitar. One thing is for sure, George Thorogood pays tribute to the African American Blues musicians like no other. His music is real, and his covers are played with feeling and made to be his. This is the type of music I want to listen to on a hot summer night while drinking a few beers and playing along with my guitar.

Track listing:

“You Got to Lose” (Earl Hooker) – 3:15
“Madison Blues” (Elmore James) – 4:24
“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” (John Lee Hooker) – 8:20
“Kind Hearted Woman” (Robert Johnson) – 3:48
“Can’t Stop Lovin'” (E. James) – 3:04
“Ride On Josephine” (Ellas McDaniel) – 4:17
“Homesick Boy” – 3:02
“John Hardy” (Traditional) – 3:18
“I’ll Change My Style” (William Parker, Manuel Villa) – 3:57
“Delaware Slide” (Thorogood) – 7:45

Mutha Live! Black Oak Arkansas

Rating: 90%

R-380941-1297103126.jpeg.jpgIn 1976, Black Oak Arkansas released Mutha Live! It was recorded on Mother’s Day on 1975. This performance starts off with the bands most popular hit “Jim Dandy.” It also has a small collection of their other well known songs such as “Hot And Nasty.” 

For a live album, this is a really good performance on behalf of the band. The sound of the music is rich, rhythmic, and full. It’s always good to hear what a band sounds like once they are live. Some sound great, others not so great and B.O.A. sounds better to me, live than in the studio. 

With regards to the band, they sound solid and they are engaging with the audienceTommy Aldridge on the drums is throwing out some steady tempos. Thundering along on bass is Pat Daugherty and he is clearly heard and is not overshadowed by the guitars. Jimmy Henderson, Stan Knight, and Ricky Reynolds on guitars is what gives this band that full and rich sound. It’s heavy and distorted, but doesn’t take away any of the feel to the music. Then on vocals is the one and only James Mangrum who sounds like he is on top of his game. 

Track listing:

A1 Jim Dandy
A2 Fancy Nancy
A3 Lord Have Mercy On My Soul
A4 Cryin’ Shame
A5 Fever In My Mind
B1 Hey Ya’ll
B2 Rebel
B3 Taxman (George Harrison)
B4 Hot And Nasty

Black Oak Arkansas: Black Oak Arkansas

Rating: 85%

BlackOakArkansas-BlackOakArkansas.jpgIn 1971, Southern Rock had gained another foothold on the music scene with the debut release of Black Oak Arkansas. This Folk and Psychedelic mixture meets Country and Rock.  It’s got banjos, steel guitar, and yes a washboard. This really made B.O.A. a truly unique sounding band. 

The musicianship is pretty tight. You have the whiskey drenched and the Howlin’ Wolf influenced vocal style of Jim Mangrum. I can honestly say, no other vocalist out there even some close to his style. You also have three guitarist, Rickie Reynolds, Harvey Jett, and Stanley Knight who thrown down some great leads, wacky rhythms, and riff. Among other instruments these guys play includes the banjo, piano, organ, and steel guitar. Bringing in the the support of harmony and rhythm as well as the tempos is bassist Pat Daugherty and drummer Wayne Evans. All members contribute to the vocals of the chorus and they are all in tuned with one another. 

Musically, it can be sloppy at times with the triple guitar attack and thunderous bass rhythms and leads all going into different directions. The fuzz and heavy toned leads are a great touch. But B.O.A. some how finds a way for this to work. Bus this style was new and the music scene needed something like this as music entered a new decade. The music other than that is very engaging, full, and rich. My personal favorites on this record are “Hot and Nasty”, “Lord Have Mercy on My Soul”, and “When Electricity Came to Arkansas.” These three songs are among the different. Meaning, the tempo, beats, rhythms, and sound are completely out there, especially on “When Electricity Came to Arkansas” which begins with a washboard and ends on a full fledged attack of electric instruments.

Track listing:

“Uncle Lijiah” – 3:17
“Memories at the Window” – 3:05
“The Hills of Arkansas” – 3:45
“I Could Love You” – 6:10
“Hot and Nasty” – 2:55
“Singing the Blues” – 2:17 (Melvin Endsley)
“Lord Have Mercy on My Soul” – 6:15
“When Electricity Came to Arkansas” – 4:26

More George Thorogood and The Destroyers: George Thorogood & the Destroyers

Rating: 85%

MoreGeorgeThorogood.jpgSo, 1980 saw George Thorogood and his Delaware Destroyers tearing up the scene with their style of Blues music. And the music was GREAT! However, I do take one issue with this album, the fact that George didn’t write any of the material on here. That’s my only complaint. But, the way the band covered these songs, they did so, in their own fashion. In other words they adopted the arrangements and made these songs their own. The final product is something that rocks as if every song was written by George Thorogood and his band. The sound is great from the over all sound of production down to the melodies. The instrumentation is great as well.

The band itself is playing really tight as if they are enjoying themselves. George’s style of slide guitar complete with those whiskey drenched vocals are damn near perfect on this album. He really knows how to make that guitar scream with that slide. The work of bassist Bill Blough and drummer Jeff Simon is again like most albums outstanding. Top that off with a rhythm horn of Hank Carter’s saxophone and you have on hell of a good record. But that is all you have, is a good record and not a great record.

So, with George Thorogood, you have to give a little in order to take a little. Good songs, done in good style, but not George’s own songs.

Track listing:

1.”I’m Wanted” (Willie Dixon) – 4:05

2.”Kids from Philly” (George Thorogood) – 2:30

3.”One Way Ticket” (John Lee Hooker) – 4:33

4.”Bottom of the Sea” (McKinley Morganfield) – 3:30

5.”Night Time” (Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer) – 3:03

6.”Tip On In” (James Moore) – 3:01

7.”Goodbye Baby” (Elmore James) – 4:18

8.”House of Blue Lights” (Don Raye, Freddie Slack) – 3:03

9.”Just Can’t Make It” (Hound Dog Taylor) – 3:03

10.”Restless” (Carl Perkins) – 3:14

 

 

Live At Leeds: The Who

Rating: 100%

The_who_live_at_leedsOne of my favorite guitarists is Pete Townshend. Just something about his style that can’t be matched by no other. One can not compare him to Jimmy Page or Ritchie Blackmore. Because all of them are talented, brilliant, and and can throw down chords like no tomorrow. With that being said, I picked up this live performance by the The Who at R.I.P. Records for $8.00 in almost mint condition.

The overall sound is really amazing. Each instrument sounds great. The music has a lot of rich melody and harmony. The rhythm section is so talented and sounds very heavy at times. Lot’s of great tempos as well. The Who were always ahead of the times when it came to their style as well as their sound.

The musicianship is really good as well. Roger Daltrey has a great voice and is full of energy. He is a good example of what a frontman should be during performances. Pete Townshend again, is fantastic. He knows how to throw those riffs down and his leads are amazing. Bringing in the harmony of the music is bassist John Entwistle. His leads and bass lines are top notch. Throwing down on the skins and keeping tempo is the one and only Keith Moon on drums. 

If you really want to hear how these bands really sound, you got to get their live performances. Those performances showcases the band without dubs and editing. Every song on here showcases how great this band is, including the two covers  “Summertime Blues” and “Shakin’ All Over.”

Side one
1. “Young Man Blues” 4:46
2. “Substitute”  2:10
3. “Summertime Blues”  3:22
4. “Shakin’ All Over”  4:20

Side two
1. “My Generation” 14:45
2. “Magic Bus” 7:57

Neil Young: Neil Young

Rating: 85%

Neil_Young_(album)_cover.jpgIn 1969, Neil Young fresh out of Buffalo Springfield, went into his own direction releasing his debut solo record. So, I purchased this record for .25 thinking that I was getting the “After the Gold Rush” vinyl. I was surprised to see that this was in it when I got home. Nonetheless, it was a Neil vinyl that I didn’t have.

Musically, this album sees Neil Young learning how to fly. It’s rooted in Folk and Country Rock influences with a touch of the Psychedelic sound to this guitar. It’s an extension of the former Buffalo Springfield sound. Highlights include the “I’ve Been Waiting for You”, “The Old Laughing Lady”, “The Last Trip to Tulsa”, and “What Did You Do to My Life?”.

This album was a flop upon it’s release, but Neil Young a few months later, would release one of the all-time greatest albums with his new backing band Crazy Horse. Although, a flop, this album is very important as it marked the beginning for Neil Young’s career, and very long career at that.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “The Emperor of Wyoming” 2:14
2. “The Loner” 3:55
3. “If I Could Have Her Tonight” 2:15
4. “I’ve Been Waiting for You” 2:30
5. “The Old Laughing Lady” 5:58
Side two
6. “String Quartet from Whiskey Boot Hill” (Jack Nitzsche) 1:04
7. “Here We Are in the Years” 3:27
8. “What Did You Do to My Life?” 2:28
9. “I’ve Loved Her So Long” 2:40
10. “The Last Trip to Tulsa” 9:25