Flirtin’ with Disaster: Molly Hatchet

Rating: 90%

Molly_Hatchet_-_Flirtin'_with_Disaster.jpg1979 was the year for Molly Hatchet with the release of their second album “Flirtin’ with Disaster.” The one thing you’ll notice is the song structures are much heavier than their debut a year earlier. The musicianship is much tighter. Vocalist Danny Joe Brown sounds, oh so good behind that mic. The barrage of guitars of  Dave Hlubek,  Steve Holland, and Duane Roland are much more distorted and is what makes this album sound much heavier. The bass of Banner Thomas and drums of Bruce Crump are keeping a more faster tempo and rhythm which is what makes this album great. 

Musically, you have a more Hard Rock influence with tons of Blues and a dash of Funk and Country. There’s plenty of ass kicking riffs and guitar solos. I love the raspy and whiskey drenched vocals. This album is just a super hard hitter from start to finish, making Molly Hatchet a force to be reckoned with in the South.

Track listing:

Whiskey Man 3:38
It’s All Over Now 3:40
One Man’s Pleasure 3:25
Jukin’ City 3:49
Boogie No More 6:05
Flirtin’ With Disaster 4:56
Good Rockin’ 3:16
Gunsmoke 3:10
Long Time 3:16
Let The Good Times Roll 2:56

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Ozark Mountain Daredevils: Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Rating: 95%

OMDs_1973.jpgThis great 1973 debut release by Ozark Mountain Daredevils to me is a forgotten gem. It was also the band’s most successful release. The entire album is brilliant with the elements of Country and Rock blending together to form a unique Southern Rock sound with a dash of Folk.

The instruments are very rich with tight grooves. The overall sound is very rich and can be very heavy even without electric instruments. The melodies are perfectly done. The harmonies are tasteful. Nice even tempos with tons of complex chords. The song structures are amazing from the opening to the ending. You can hear every instrument at work from the foreground to the background. Meaning, the softness of the fiddle to the Jew harp. Song writing is very good even those songs that are corny, but sound very good like “Chicken Train.” This album as rich it is in sound is crystal clear. That is because of all that musicianship which is great.

Track listing:

“Country Girl” – 3:16
“Spaceship Orion” – 3:11
“If You Wanna Get to Heaven”  – 3:04
“Chicken Train” – 3:37
“Colorado Song”  – 5:05
“Standin’ on the Rock” – 3:54
“Road to Glory” – 4:55
“Black Sky” – 3:08
“Within Without”– 4:25
“Beauty in the River” (John Dillon) – 3:55

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

Vertical Smiles: Blackfoot

Rating: 50%

VerticalsmilesalbumSo, the 1980’s had no mercy for Southern Rock as the keyboards and pop music swooped in, taking over every music genre. Well, Blackfoot was no exception. Just as Molly Hatchet, Ted Nugent, and ZZ Top were trying to find there way, Blackfoot followed right behind.

Musically, the album begins with two covers that are very pop and alternative influenced. Lot’s of synthesizers. Where’s the Hard Rock you might ask? Well, it’s there, buried deep within the song structure. But, I can’t seem to hear it from the New Wave styles. “Git It On” is one of the better songs on the record, but it too is somewhat weak even though it has solos, riffs, and vocals. It fall victim to the 1980’s sound. I am really missing “Train, Train.”

The musicianship is lacking. Ricky Medlocke vocals are very mild. His guitar is very weak. Think of Kevin Bacon in the movie Footloose. Even the main riffs and solos are just not explosive. The rest of the band is following in Ricky’s steps. Disappointed.  

Track listing:

Side one
“Morning Dew” (Bonnie Dobson cover) – 5:27
“Living in the Limelight” (Peter Cetera cover) – 4:02
“Ride with You” – 3:33
“Get It On” – 4:29
Side two
“Young Girl” – 4:24
“Summer Days” – 3:19
“A Legend Never Dies” (RPM cover) – 3:03
“Heartbeat and Heels” – 3:15
“In for the Kill” – 3:50

Strikes: Blackfoot

Rating: 95%

Blackfoot_-_Strikes.jpgSo the year was 1979 and Blackfoot released “Strikes” which is by far one of my favorite records by this band. Most of Southern Rock was dead or it was changing drastically. After 1977 when the plain went down and with all of the styles of music about, Blackfoot was not ready to throw in the towel. Instead, they released one of the most kick ass, hard rocking, whiskey drench albums of their career

This album has plenty of sound fused with hard hitting riffs, leads, drumming, and harmonica. Rickey Medlocke and his vocals are top notch. Between his guitar and the guitar of Charlie Hargrett, they throw riff after riff followed by lead and solos all over this record. Even the song “Highway Song” which begins with some picking, turns into a racetrack at the end and the guitars just dance around. You throw in the drums of Jakson Spires and Greg T. Walker’s bass, you’ll have a band that is powerful, exciting, and energetic.  But Rickey’s grandfather, Shorty steals the spotlight with Blues influenced harmonica on the opening of “Train, Train.” 

Track listing:

1. “Road Fever” 3:07
2. “I Got a Line on You (Spirit cover)” 3:17
3. “Left Turn on a Red Light”  4:35
4. “Pay My Dues” (Blues Image cover) 3:03
5. “Baby Blue” 2:33
6. “Wishing Well” (Free cover) 3:11
7. “Run and Hide” 3:24
8. “Train, Train (prelude)” 0:36
9. “Train, Train” 2:56
10. “Highway Song” 6:50

No Guts…No Glory: Molly Hatchet

Rating: 90%

No_Guts...No_Glory_(Molly_Hatchet_album_-_cover_art).jpgThe South has risen once again with the 1983 Molly Hatchet release “No Guts…No Glory.” This record has plenty of dueling guitar leads, a powerful set of trio riffs, great drumming and fantastic vocals. It’s full throttle Hard Rock from start to finish. It features one of the best signature and jamming songs by the band called “Fall of the Peacemakers.”

The musicianship is perfectly formulated. Vocalist Danny Joe Brown is on top of the world and is in his prime. The trio of guitars are performed by Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Roland. Man, they can throw out the riffs and harmonize those leads like no other. Bassist Riff West and drummer Barry Borden are great setting the time and beats. This is Southern Rock with a hard edge with a dash of Country and Blue thrown into the mix. Southern Rock never sounded so good. 

Track listing:

Side one
“What Does It Matter?” – 3:33
“Ain’t Even Close” – 4:35
“Sweet Dixie” – 3:54
“Fall of the Peacemakers”  – 8:03
Side two
“What’s It Gonna Take?”  – 3:59
“Kinda Like Love” – 4:09
“Under the Gun” – 3:54
“On the Prowl” – 4:07
“Both Sides” – 5:08