Shake Your Money Maker: The Black Crowes

Rating: 95%

BlackCrowesShakeYourMoneymaker.jpgIn 1990, as Hair Metal was taking to the back seat and Grunge was dominating the airwaves, few bands outside of the arena found success. The Black Crowes were one such band that managed to stay on top and ride the wave. Often, they are thrown into the Southern Rock category as there was a reemergence in the genre. I remember when I first heard them on the radio. It was the song “Twice as Hard.” I was totally blown away with the their style of Blues and Rock n’ Roll. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and I ran out not long afterwards to grab this album on cassette.

The musicianship is excellent. The Robinson brothers, Chris on vocals has such a distinguished voice. His brother Rich on guitar along with guitarist Jeff Cease throw out these very powerful Blues riffs and lead solos like no other duel. In fact, I love the guitar work on this album. Add in the strong rhythm section of bassist Johnny Colt and drummer Steve Gorman and you have very strong back bone for a band. The foundation and frame work these musicians built was brilliant, and they never released the same album twice, which is even better.

Musically, this album has tons of Blues, Rock, and yes some Country influences from the guitar work to the rhythm section. The music also has a great Bluesy tone to it. It has a wonderful rich melody that is engaging and inspirational. The tracks flow nicely. The riffs and leads are excellent as is the vocals and chorus lines. Each song is well written. Even the two covers on this album are drenched in Crowes fashion.

Track listing:

“Twice As Hard” – 4:09
“Jealous Again” – 4:35
“Sister Luck” – 5:13
“Could I’ve Been So Blind” – 3:44
“Seeing Things” – 5:18
“Hard to Handle” (Allen Jones, Alvertis Isbell, Otis Redding) – 3:08
“Thick n’ Thin” – 2:44
“She Talks to Angels” – 5:29
“Struttin’ Blues” – 4:09
“Stare It Cold” – 5:13
“Live Too Fast Blues/Mercy, Sweet Moan” – 1:17


Roscoe’s Gang: Eric Ambel

Rating: 95%

eric.jpgIn 1988, Eric Ambel released his first solo record. For those who never heard of his music, think back to 1981 with Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation.” He was the guitarist on that album. He has also worked with Steve Earle in recent years. For me, I happened to stumble across this cassette shortly after it’s release.

I was blown away by the quality of the music. Eric proves that he can play Rock n’ Roll, Country, and Blues. He has a decent enough voice to carry a tune, and also proves to be a great lead guitarist. His voice is distinctive and some may be turned off by it. The entire rhythm section with bassist Lou “Alou” Whitney, drummer Ron “Wrongo” Gremp, and guitarist Donnie “D.C.” Thompson really produce some great tempos and melodies. Also pianist Joe “Planet” Terry proves that his keys are on fire when needed.

Musically, this is close to a Neil Young style guitar mixed with Georgia Satellites Band blended with Steve Earle. That’s why it’s hard to classify this into a single genre of music.  One minute, the sound can be heavy and Bluesy and the next minute it can be soft and sound along the lines of Country or Rockabilly. It’s very creative, sharp, full, and rich. The song writing is the same way. It’s very powerful. I love full backing vocals.

Track listing:

If You Gotta Go, Go Now 2:59
Total Destruction To Your Mind 4:27
The Girl That I Ain’t Got 0:50
Forever Came Today 3:25
30 Days In The Workhouse 3:08
Power Lounger Theme 3:24
Don’t Wanna Be Your Friend 4:02
I Waited For You 3:01
Next To The Last Waltz 1:57
Loose Talk 3:56
You Must Have Me Confused 4:10
Vampire Blues 2:28

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

San Francisco’s STILL Doomed: Crime

Rating: 90%

CRIMESFDfront.jpgThis compilation album has tracks that were recorded in 1978-1979 and wasn’t released until 1991. The band featured vocalist and guitarist Johnny Strike, vocalist and guitarist Frankie Fix, bassist Ron Greco, and drummer Ricky Williams.

This Punk band is amazing. Their style is pure Rock n’ Roll played on volume ten. This gives the music a crunch and gritty sound that is covered in mud. The guitars are heavy has hell. They pelt out riffs and leads. Then the feedback just rips through the music. It’s almost sloppy, but at the same time, the chords are very tight. The bass sticks out and just dominates the entire record.  The drum lines are out of this world. The vocals are very sloppy. I don’t think the vocals have reach any kind of range, but, this is Punk, so the vocals don’t have to be perfect.

Track listing:

Side One
“Crime Wave”
“I Knew This Nurse”
“San Francisco’s Doomed”
“Rock & Roll Enemy No.1”
“Piss On Your Dog”
“Feel The Beat”
“I Be Stupid Anyway”
“Murder By Guitar”
“Instrumental Instrumental”

Side Two
“Rockabilly Drugstore”
“Dillinger’s Brain”
“Emergency Music Ward”
“Monkey On Your Back”
“Rockin’ Weird”

Hell Yeah!: HorrorPops

Rating: 90%

Hell_Yeah!.jpgThe HorrorPops is a great band that mixes the 1950’s Rockabilly with 1970’s Punk music. It then blends some of the surf music into it’s sound. It’s almost as if Elvis meets the Misfits and the Cramps. The band is led by Patricia Day on upright bass and lead vocals, guitarist Karsten and drummer Niedermeier.

There are several tracks on this album that are good. This is an enjoyable album to listen to. The musicianship is just breath taking. Lot’s of great vocals by Patricia Day. Man, she has plenty of range with her gritty style of vocals. The chorus lines are just as amazing with the harmony of the band itself. Lot’s of great guitar riffs and leads. The drumming is really good.

The overall sound is what makes this band so good. It’s not polished enough to ruin their sound, but it’s crisp and clean. Although, nothing explosive, meaning no overly distorted guitars, you can almost feel the influences of the Misfits, the Cramps, and No Doubt. Plenty of energy and power within the band and their music. It’s good to see that this Danish band has taken the old traditional sounds of America and England to create their own blend on Punk and Psychobilly music. High points of this record include, “Psychobitches Outta Hell”, “Horrorbeach”, “Miss Take”, and “Ghouls.”

Track Listing:

“Julia” – 2:45
“Drama Queen” – 2:22
“Ghouls”  – 2:06
“Girl in a Cage” – 2:58
“Miss Take” – 3:58
“Where They Wander” – 3:00
“Kool Flattop”– 3:09
“Psychobitches Outta Hell” – 3:12
“Dotted With Hearts” – 3:53
“Baby Lou Tattoo” – 3:11
“What’s Under My Bed” – 3:15
“Emotional Abuse”– 3:21
“Horrorbeach” – 2:52

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