At Fillmore East: The Allman Brothers

Rating: 100%

AllmanBrothersBandAtFillmoreEastI was sadden by the passing of Greg Allman which happened on May 27 of this year. I have been a fan ever since the mid 1980’s. Their music style has changed so much over their career, but I have often called them one of the best Blues Rock band out there who mixes their style with country, jazz, and rock.

In fact, “At Fillmore East” was one of those records that I wore out. I had the cassette and CD versions of the album. The Cd has lots more on it that the actual LP version. But, since I am listening to the vinyl version, that is one I am rating. The recording is very good. The sound is clear. It’s rich, it’s full, and it sounds very good.

The musicianship is outstanding.  I love how the band members improvise their instrumentation to take a five minute song and make it into a twenty minute song. That shows talent. Greg Allman’s vocals sound great in his prime. His organ work is just as good. Then you add the duel guitar work of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. WOW!!!! These guys know their way up and down on the neck of the guitars. Then you have the duel action of drums of Jai Johanny Johanson and Butch Trucks which gives the overall sound that fullness. Add the bass by Berry Oakley and you have an amazingly good line up of musicians.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Statesboro Blues” 4:17
2. “Done Somebody Wrong” 4:33
3. “Stormy Monday” 8:44
Side two
4. “You Don’t Love Me (“Joy to the World” medley in the ending portions)” 19:15
Side three
5. “Hot ‘Lanta” 5:17
6. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” 13:04
Side four
7. “Whipping Post” 23:03

Molly Hatchet: Molly Hatchet

Rating: 85%

Molly_Hatchet_-_Molly_Hatchet.jpgIn 1978, the legends of Southern Rock, Molly Hatchet released their debut record. I was lucky enough to find this record in an antique store bin for $4.00. The record features the classic line up consisting of vocalist Danny Joe Brown, guitarist Dave Hlubek, Steve Holland, and Duane Roland, bassist Banner Thomas, and drummer Bruce Crump. So the musicianship is top notch.

Not as heavy as the album moving forward, this album is pretty good musically. Lots of good harmonies and mid level tempos. Song structures are well done with some outstanding riffs and lead solos. The vocal work is amazing.

Some of my all time favorite songs on this record are “Gator Country”, “The Creeper”, and “Dreams I’ll Never See.” “Gator Country” pays tribute to the previous Southern Rockers like Elvin Bishop, Charlie Daniels, and the Marshall Tucker Band. The way the song is written, it explores the majority of the areas where southern rockers wrote about, such as “Sweet Home Alabama” by  Lynyrd Skynyrd. Here is where Molly Hatchet actually makes fun of the state by saying there’s nothing to see in Alabama. However, the Outlaws’s song “Green Grass and Hide Tides” which refers to St Augustine, FLA and how Molly Hatchet agrees with the descriptions of the their song.  “Dreams I’ll Never See” a song written and performed by the Allman Brothers is a fantastic cover.

This album is a fine Southern Rock album that has plenty to offer whether you’re into Country music to Rock n’ Roll.

 

Track listing:

Side one
“Bounty Hunter” – 2:58
“Gator Country”  – 6:17
“Big Apple”  – 3:01
“The Creeper”  – 3:18
“The Price You Pay”  – 3:04
Side two
“Dreams I’ll Never See”  – 7:06
“I’ll Be Running” – 3:00
“Cheatin’ Woman” – 3:36
“Trust Your Old Friend”  – 3:55

Strong Stuff: Hank Williams Jr

Rating: 90%

StrongStuff.jpg“Strong Stuff” released in 1983 by Hank Williams Jr. is one of my all time favorites country records by Hank Jr. It’s a collection of songs that are heavier, leaning toward Southern Rock. You can hear it on “La Grange” and “Blue Jean Blues”, both of which are ZZ Top songs and the “Made in the Shade” which is a Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Some of the other songs that Hank wrote like “Gonna Go Huntin’ Tonight” and “In the Arms of Cocaine” too are heavier than some of his previous songs.

The songs structure are nicely done. This album surely is one of Hank Jr.’s classic albums. The entire album is very enjoyable to listen to. “Leave Them Boys Alone” features Waylon Jennings and Ernest Tubb on backing vocals. “A Whole Lot of Hank” pay tribute to Jr.’s father Hank Sr., while “In the Arms of Cocaine” deals with the issues of drug use by two lovers.

Track listing:

1.”Gonna Go Huntin’ Tonight” 2:36
2.”La Grange” 5:21
3.”A Whole Lot of Hank” 2:55
4.”Made in the Shade” 4:35
5.”Leave Them Boys Alone” 3:36
6.”The Girl on the Front Row at Fort Worth” 2:38
7.”The Homecoming Queen”4:22
8.”Blue Jean Blues” 4:07
9.”Twodot Montana” 2:39
10.”In the Arms of Cocaine” 4:08

Izzy Stradlin & and the Ju Ju Hounds

Rating: 80%

Izzy_Stradlin_&_the_Ju_Ju_HoundsIn 1991, Izzy Stradlin left Guns N’ Roses and formed his own band. For his first solo release in 1992, he incorporated many influences from rock, blues, punk and yes, some reggae. I have always admired Izzy every since he was in GNR. On his first solo record here, Izzy plays guitar and is the lead vocalist. He is joined by Ricky Richards, formally of Georgia Satellites on lead guitar, Jimmy Ashhurst on bass and Charlie Quintana on drums.

Musically, this is an enjoyable album to listen to. It has several tempos changes throughout the entire album. It has plenty of harmony and melody. Izzy has a great team of musicians. As a song writer and composer, he still writes quality songs as he did when he was in GNR.

The album begins with “Somebody Knockin'” which has a strong blues rock feeling. “Pressure Drop” has a strong pink feeling. Rather than reinvent the ballads, Izzy using straight forward blues and southern rock for his slower songs such as in the song “Shuffle It All”  or “How Will It Go.” Some parts in these songs have a country music feel to it as well. Production is good. There are some nice riffs and leads. All instrumentation is well done. One thing is for sure, Izzy would have a bright future ahead of him.

Track listing:

“Somebody Knockin” – 3:27
“Pressure Drop”  – 2:42
“Time Gone By”  – 3:47
“Shuffle It All” – 6:19
“Bucket o’ Trouble”  – 2:10
“Train Tracks”  – 4:27
“How Will It Go?”  – 3:51
“Cuttin’ the Rug”  – 5:01
“Take a Look at the Guy”  – 4:45
“Come on Now Inside” – 6:58
“Morning Tea” (hidden bonus track, starts 4:26 into track 10)

Electric Rodeo: Shooter Jennings

Rating: 95%

MUDD1802First and foremost, I really like Shooter Jennings. I have been into his music since the release of “Put the “O” Back in Country” back in 2005. I was very excited about Shooter’s second release “Electric Rodeo” that was released in 2006. Shooter Jennings is a man who can perform any genre of music that he chooses. His music is country, hard rock, psychedelic rock and southern rock.

“Electric Rodeo”features a fine collection of songs. It’s a great album from start to finish with a good mixture of country and rock influences. The music is very raw as compared to “Put the “O” Back in Country.” The entire album has a good collection of tempos and melodies. It features a fine group of musicians as Shooter is backed by the .357’s. Shooter’s vocal style is very unique. Some of the songs like “Some Rowdy Women” he sounds much like his father Waylon.

Lyrically, this album has a bit of everything. There’s poetry which “Alligator Chomp” is a good example of that. “Manifesto No. 2” has a classic bluesy country sound to it. “Aviators” is a classic country break up song with lot’s of spoken humor in it.

Shooter is a very talented artist and musician.  I look forward to any material of his that is being released. He can do just about anything. When you listen to him, you can hear Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and many other of his influences.

Track listing:

“Electric Rodeo” – 4:33
“Gone to Carolina” – 4:06
“Some Rowdy Women” – 3:13
“The Song Is Still Slipping Away” – 3:09
“Hair of the Dog” – 4:01
“Little White Lines” – 5:29
“Alligator Chomp (The Ballad of Dr. Martin Luther Frog as Told To Tony)” – 3:10
“Manifesto No. 2” – 2:09
“Aviators” – 3:23
“Bad Magick” – 5:12
“It Ain’t Easy” – 3:05

Pickin’ on Nashville: The Kentucky Headhunters

Rating: 80%

KhhpickinIn 1989, the newly reunited and newly formed Kentucky Headhunters released their debut “Pickin’ on Nashville.” The Kentucky Headhunters is a country/rock band that classifies their sound as Heavy Metal Bluegrass. But don’t call them just an ordinary country band. Their music is a lot heavier than that. The band consisted of Greg Martin on lead guitar, Richard Young on rhythm guitar, Fred Young on drums, Doug Phelps on bass guitar and Ricky Lee Phelps on lead vocals.

“Pickin’ on Nashville” is a fine collection of music with a rock n’ roll edge rooted deeply in southern rock mixed with blues and mountain music and yes, heavy metal. The production is good on this album giving the listener a bold country music sound, but, it has it’s heavier side. It has a great collection of melodies and it has a lot of harmony. The musicianship is remarkable and it truly sounds as if the entire band is having fun making their brand of music.

Greg Martin is one hell of a guitarist and if he’s not on a list of the top 100 guitarists, then he should be. His leads and scales are not exactly country, but, they are good. There is some excellent guitar riffs from both of the guitarists. The bass and drums are top notch. Ricky’s vocal work has that country twang to it, but, don’t let that fool you. His voice is very strong throughout the entire album.

This album has one bluegrass cover “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine” and which was adopted and redeveloped into the band’s own style. It also has two more covers, “Oh Lonesome Me” and “Jump a Rope.” Bottom line, these are good ol’ boys playing good ol’ rock n’ roll.

Track listing:

1. “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine” 3:44
2. “Dumas Walker” 2:50
3. “Rag Top” 3:11
4. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Angel” 3:51
5. “Smooth” 4:27
6. “High Steppin’ Daddy” 2:57
7. “Skip a Rope” 2:31
8. “Some Folks Like to Steal” 2:51
9. “Oh Lonesome Me” 3:09
10. “My Daddy Was a Milkman” 4:28

Beatin’ the Odds: Molly Hatchet

Rating: 80%

Molly_Hatchet_-_Beatin'_the_Odds.jpgMolly Hatchet’s third album “Beatin’ the Odds” released in 1980 is a hard rockin’ triple barrage of guitars that just doesn’t quit until the record is over. Unlike most southern rock bands, they were not influenced by the newer sound of pop music of the time. This is also the first record to feature vocalist Jimmy Farrar, who replaced Danny Joe Brown. I don’t think Jimmy Farrar gets enough credit for stepping in on two of Molly Hatchet’s records.  “Beatin’ the Odds” consisted of Jimmy Farrar on vocals, guitarists Dave Hlubek,  Steve Holland, Duane Roland, bassist Banner Thomas, and drummer Bruce Crump.

The records opens with “Beatin’ the Odds” which is a hard rockin’ upbeat tempo. It’s got a good tight structure. The leads and fills are what makes Molly Hatchet one of southern rock’s, hard hitting all-time greats. This was one of the songs that I used to love to play on the guitar. When you hear it now a days, you’ll hear the live version with Danny Joe Brown on vocals since he is more recognizable as their lead vocalist throughout much the 1980’s.

The other songs are just as good with a few country music and blues influences that are clearly heard. The slide work on the guitar is everywhere on the record. It mixes well with the regular leads. The drum work and bass lines with setting the tempo works well. Jimmy Farrar vocals are very heavy and very strong. His vocal style is more whiskey drenched and crunchy. Production wise, the record is solid.

Although, most music critics give this record two stars out of five, I think they are being biased toward Jimmy Farrar. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a hard rockin’ album that features a lot of guitar work, strong vocals, great music structure with a lot of tempo, then this record is one of those records you should have. It’s just a good all around southern rock record.  Highlights on this record is “Beatin’ the Odds”, “Poison Pen”, “Dead and Gone”, and “Get Her Back.”

Track listing:

“Beatin’ the Odds” – 3:18
“Double Talker”  – 3:15
“The Rambler” – 4:50
“Sailor” – 3:50
“Dead and Gone” – 4:22
“Few and Far Between”  – 3:40
“Penthouse Pauper” – 3:18
“Get Her Back”  – 3:03
“Poison Pen”  – 3:06