George Thorogood & The Destroyers
It's after midnight. You've been driving for an eternity but still hours from your destination. You're tired but wired. Sleep is impossible but passing out is a distinct possibility. Your mood is as dark as the night. The road's a blur and after a near miss you decide to take a break. There are some lights in the distance so that's where you head. Pulling off the main drag, both you and the car are running on fumes. As you slowly get out you hear sharp drumbeats in 4/4 time. As you walk across the gravel lot a thumbing bass rattles your spine and a stinging guitar perks your ears. You open the door and the disjointed noise comes together as a powerful force. Electric Blues, down and dirty. You order a beer and sit in the back, letting the music wash over you. Soon nothing matters. Where you're going or been. Your mood lightens. A faint smile breaks on your lips. That's the power of roadhouse Blues, a specialty of George Thorogood & The Destroyers.
Blues and Country are at the root of Rock 'n' Roll. But by the time Hard Rock arrived (in the late '60s) both Blues and Country had been sent to the showers. Still, every now and then, it's important to dust off the old styles, give 'em a fresh coat of paint and drive 'em around the block.
Thorogood & The Destroyers got together in '73 and were signed by the small Boston based Folk/Blues label, Rounder. A self titled debut hit in '75 and was followed by "Move It On Over" three years later.
The group moved to EMI in '82 and shot out the "Bad To The Bone" CD. Continuing through the '90s, Thorogood recorded a live album in '95 and "Rockin' My Life Away" in '97. His '06 release, "Hard Stuff," drew well-deserved attention.
Then came "The Dirty Dozen." The 12-track '09 effort had six new recordings and a selection of fan favorites. "This album is . . . a real Rocker, full of songs we've always loved playing," said Thorogood. The album contained "Drop Down Mama," "Tail Dragger" and "Twenty Dollar Gig."
Thorogood is like a stalwart high school friend. Never slick or cool. Not all that popular. Some think he has a bad attitude but they fail to see the sly humor. And he is never given credit for his hard work or talent. But when you needed him, he is there.
"George Thorogood the Destroyers" ('75) debut is the group's lasting achievement. Blistering and forceful, the album is a Blues/Boogie tour de force. The next three albums, "Move It On Over," "More George Thorogood & the Destroyers" and "Bad To The Bone" are good but not great. After that, the fall off is significant. "The Baddest of the Badd: George Thorogood & the Destroyers" captures the career highlights
'06 release, "Hard Stuff," rolls through Boogie Blues, Country and even some early ZZTop-ish hybrids. The growl and guitar that fueled Thorogood's best work is still evident but not dominate. "Anytown U.S.A.," "I Didn't Know" and "Love Doctor" ("I'm the love doctor but I never went to doctor school") are old school Thorogood. Can't beat 'em. The set opens and closes with a couple tracks influenced by early ZZ Top, the title track and "Huckle Up Baby." The real joys are the cut loose Rockers, "Anytown U.S.A., the Blues guitar romp "Cool It," that features Buddy Leach's sax, and "Rock Party" (gonna show you I'm bad to the bone"). For a change-up Thorogood delivers the jaunty, County flavored "Hello Josephine" and the acoustic Delta derived "Dynaflow Blues."