The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion: The Black Crowes

Rating: 90%

The_Black_Crowes_The_Southern_Harmony_and_Musical_CompanionIn 1992, the Black Crowes released their second album. This album I thought was pretty decent. It was totally different sounding from their first album. Now, warning, there was some line up changes which may have added to a change of direction. For example, this album marks the first for guitarist Marc Ford.

Musically, I thought this album was very soulful and much heavier than their debut. It’s also more melodic than the first album. The riffs were a little more complex and a bit more fuller. It’s more or less setting the pace for what the Black Crowes are becoming. A melodic atmospheric influenced Blues band. The rhythm section is a bit more leaning toward Southern Rock, taking some of that influence and mixing it with Blues. This album has a lot of harmony. I love originality of the music. To think, they were playing this on the airwaves during the Grunge era.

The musicianship is very good. Chris Robinson still delivers a great vocal on all of the tracks. Guitarists Rich Robinson and Marc Ford throw out some very good riffs and leads. The entire rhythm section consisting of bassist Johnny Colt, drummer Steve Gorman, and keyboardist Eddie Harsch still proves to be the backbone of the Black Crowes.

Track listing:

“Sting Me” – 4:39
“Remedy” – 5:22
“Thorn in My Pride” – 6:03
“Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” – 6:28
“Sometimes Salvation” – 4:44
“Hotel Illness” – 3:59
“Black Moon Creeping” – 4:54
“No Speak No Slave” – 4:01
“My Morning Song” – 6:15
“Time Will Tell” (Bob Marley) – 4:08


Best Of The Rest: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Rating: 70%

SkynyrdBest_of_the_Rest.jpgIn 1982, a best of record was released under the Lynyrd Skynyrd name. Although all of but two tracks are taken from the band’s catalog, I want to focus on the two what I call “Lost Tracks.”  These are what’s important here. Other than that, the entire album is nothing more than a major filler to make it seem as a “Best Of” record. So don’t let the 70% fool you!

“I’ve Been Your Fool” is a very guitar driven song that features a ton of slide. This is what makes this song sound so heavy.  The song itself is very rich. I love how the guitar almost tries to follow right along with Ronnie Van Zant’s vocals. But the two dueling slide guitars solo is what adds that interesting texture to the melody.  The vocal work is very warm and expressive. It’s clear, stylish, and raw. The instrumentation is well balanced, full, and engaging.

“Gotta Go” is also another guitar driven song. I love the harmony of the guitar work on this song along with the vocals. It’s well shaped, strong and tuneful. The vocals are also strong and confident. 

Overall, these two songs are worth the purchase of the record. There’s a great melody on both. The high stepping tempo almost throws Lynyrd Skynyrd into the straight up Hard Rock arena. So, if you’re looking for something a bit different, try to find these two songs, it’s worth it. As these two songs alone, I would give the entire album a 95% rating.

Track listing:

“I’ve Been Your Fool”  – 4:28
“Gotta Go”  – 4:30
“I’m a Country Boy”  – 4:24
“Double Trouble”  – 2:51
“Workin’ for MCA” (Live)  – 4:25
“Call Me the Breeze” – 5:08
“I Never Dreamed” – 5:21
“T for Texas (Blue Yodel #1)” (Live) – 8:35


Dismal Hollow: King Giant

12 Jacket (Gatefold - One Pocket) [GDOB2-30CH-001]Rating: 90%

In 2012, Heavy Metal rockers King Giant released “Dismal Hollow.” Although, not a local band, King Giant does hail from Virginia. Using styles of Heavy Metal, Blues and Southern Rock, this album really packs a punch. It’s smooth and clean, even with the dropped D tuning which gives the music a very deep sound. The overall sound is a great sounding album that blends several genres to create a style of Doom/Sludge Metal that stands alone. The vocals are a whiskey soaked style that just adds to the mood of the music.

The song structures a really good, focusing on traditional song structures of riffs, combined with intro, verse, chorus, and bridges. Lots of guitar action taking place as well. The riffs all sound good as do the leads. There are some very rich rhythm sections and awesome tempos. Lyrics deal with more of Appalachia themes. The musicianship is excellent!

Track listing:

Appomattox 6:46

Tale of Mathias 4:14

A Steward’s Prayer 5:43

Pistols and Penance 7:14

6 O’Clock Swill 6:24

The Fog 6:28

Road to Eleusis 4:24

O’ Drifter 6:17

Georgia Satellites: The Georgia Satellites

Rating: 95%

The_Georgia_Satellites_-_Georgia_Satellites.jpg1986 saw the debut album release by The Georgia Satellites Band. This album is so underrated today, that most people don’t realize it has the number one song that most covers bands play in the local bar scene or carnivals.  “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” when released as a single, went straight up to number 2 following behind Bon Jovi. No wonder most local covers bands like to play this song. But fast forward to 2017, and most people never heard of this band, but they have heard the song in one form or another.

The band itself features the raspy vocalist and guitarist Dan Baird. It also features current Izzy Stradlin guitarist Rick Richards. Rounding out the rest of the rhythm section is bassist Rick Price and drummer Mauro Magellan. The band is super tight when playing and they seem to be having a lot of fun playing the Blues soaked, Southern Rock fried Hard Rock that is fueled by strong vocals and guitars. 

Musically, the band sounds great. The entire album basically brought the roots back into Rock n’ Roll as well as influencing Country music with it’s dueling and loud guitars. The main two string riff on “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” has been an influential riff that’s for sure, but it’s not the only time this riff was used. Bands like AC/DC have used those two string riffs in several of their songs back in the 1970’s. In the 1990’s bands like the Four Horsemen also used that opening riff. What Georgia Satellites does is brings that riff back into the spotlight making it popular for all musical styles.

The entire album is energetic and power driven. Aside from the guitar work which is good from the riffs to the leads, it has some excellent vocal work. The tempos and rhythms are very strong. The sound may be gritty or grungy, but this was Rock n’ Roll that was simple and true. Because of that, the Georgia Satellites band in some ways saved Rock music during the age when record companies were looking for groups that could sell music and videos to the masses rather than focusing on the quality of the content.

Track listing:

“Keep Your Hands to Yourself” – 3:26
“Railroad Steel” – 4:11
“Battleship Chains”  – 2:55
“Red Light”  – 2:45
“The Myth of Love” – 4:12
“Can’t Stand the Pain”  – 3:40
“Golden Light” – 3:35
“Over and Over” – 3:35
“Nights of Mystery” – 4:44
“Every Picture Tells a Story” (Rod Stewart) – 5:23

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

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