George Thorogood has sometimes been dismissed as a kind of poseur in some blues circles – particularly by those who only imprint blues of a certain caliber and brand. To such aficionados, this style of hybrid blues-rock that Thorogood and his band The Destroyers popularized in the late Seventies and Eighties would certainly be rejected out of hand. Bad to the Bone was the hit back in 1982 that most people will connect with Thorogood – and it’s still a swell tune with that insistent, catchy, stuttering Muddy Waters’ inspired chorus …
And what the heck – I myself happen to really like George Thorogood and I am not ashamed to say so. His smile is still deadly – and he plays a mean guitar. So just so you know, I am not a purist-snob in this way.
And yes, okay, I acknowledge that George Thorogood has not always brought a cutting-edge, original take to what he does – it’s blues, it’s often covers, but he HAS done it extremely well and it’s worked for him. The Destroyers were and are a kick-bottom band and George himself needs to be given some significant cred for bringing his own relentless - obviously sincere –premium blend of the blues to a mainstream audience. (Plus, this is most excellent feel-good party music for almost any occasion that features chicken wings and beer!) Let’s not forget either that George remains a sizzling guitar player with a raucous, bad boy promise to his vocals. (His chops, of course, were never really under scrutiny). There is also way more than a suggestion of sex appeal happening here and this tasty guy is pushing sixty ….
But I digress. There’s nothing blues-lite about the latest Thorogood release – The Dirty Dozen. And Dirty or not, it’s as pure George Thorogood and The Destroyers as you can get and was also released on vinyl. (And I like that too, thank you very much). In fact, the cd itself is organized like vinyl – the tracks are displayed as “sides” one and two – featuring new material on one “side” and reliable fan favs on side two. The sides are very, very different in flavour – one is sure to become your favourite and here are mine.
Tail Dragger gets the record off to a flying start and a promise of what is come.
Love what George does with the lyrics on this one – his playful delivery is flawless. I bet this would translate incredibly well before a live audience …
Howlin’ for My Baby is a well known Howlin’ Wolf tune but George makes you reconsider the whole song – and maybe even your lovelife - with his version. It’s a deeply sexual throb with cat-calling saxophone in the background and loads of solo work all served up at super human speed. Opens up with what sounds like “Spirit in the Sky” riffs after a double chaser of Red Bull … Oooo-weee, George.
George Thorogood: Guitar and vocals; Jeff Simon, drums; Bill Blough, bass; Jim Suhler, Guitar; Buddy Leach, saxophone.