Sunday, June 12, 2016

George Thorogood & The Destroyers - Haircut (1993)

(U.S 1974–present)
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To call George Thorogood a mere devotee of 1950s electric blues does the man a disservice. He lives and breathes the stuff. Thorogood's catalog is saturated with John Lee Hooker boogies, Chuck Berry rockers, and Elmore James shuffles, and he peels off slashing licks, both with slide and without, just like those of his hallowed heroes. 

When George writes a swaggering one-chord anthem like 1982's Bad To The Bone, it comes out sounding a lot like vintage Bo Diddley or Muddy Waters, full of piss and vinegar and voodoo vibes. Inspired by seeing John Hammond in a 1970 concert performance, Thorogood, born February 24, 1950 in Wilmington, Delaware, placed his dreams of playing major league baseball on the back burner to concentrate on playing big league guitar.  

George Thorogood 1993
He put together his original Destroyers in 1973, and then relocated his crew to Boston. An impressive cache of demos got Thorogood and the Destroyers signed to Rounder Records, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based indie label specializing in all forms of roots music from folk to bluegrass to blues but hardly geared to breaking hit records. 

Yet George's rocking 1978 revival of Hank Williams' "Move It On Over", from his second LP of the same name earned so many FM spins nationwide that the album actually went gold—an amazing accomplishment for everyone concerned. With bassist Billy Blough, drummer Jeff Simon, and saxist Hank ‘Hurricane' Carter comprising his Destroyers (they've been a remarkably consistent lineup; Simon arrived in 1974 and Blough in '77, and they're both still with George to this day; Carter stayed from 1980 to 2003), Thorogood continued to bang out ballsy three-chord rockers, most of them culled directly from ‘50s blues and rock and roll. 

Billy Blough
'Bad To The Bone' was an exception, a Thorogood original that provided the title track for his first album on EMI America after the guitarist completed his Rounder stay. The album, which cast Rolling Stones keyboardist Ian Stewart as a guest, sported the usual Hooker, Berry, and Jimmy Reed covers alongside the Isley Brothers' rocker Nobody But Me, but MTV played the hell out of the video of Bad To The Bone, exposing its legion of youthful viewers to its seething, blues-drenched rhythmic throb and Thorogood's snarling axework and vocal. It quickly became his signature theme.  Thorogood scored a chart single for EMI America in 1985 with a revival of the Johnny Otis Show's Willie And The Hand Jive, and Get A Haircut did well for him in 1993. George and his Destroyers are still rocking houses wherever they travel.   [by Bill Dahl]

You wouldn't expect any changes from George Thorogood, whose pile-driving rocking-blues and boogie have maintained their appeal despite the emergence of numerous similar-sounding ensembles. Thorogood's rough-hewn singing and always tantalizing playing on 'Haircut' are on target through the usual mix of originals and covers (this time including Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon). Besides the bonus of major label engineering and production, Thorogood's work has never lost its edge because he avoids becoming indulgent or a parody, and continues to sound genuinely interested in and a fan of the tunes he's doing.

Jeff Simon
Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job
At the mid-point in his career, now 40 years strong, George Thorogood released an unlikely hit - "Haircut".

In 1993, during an era dominated by grunge, with plaid flannel shirts and long, greasy hair the signifiers of a new rock generation the same way paisley print and bell-bottom pants (and long, greasy hair) had been that of the ’60s, there was little room for a blues-rock anthem.
Yet, "Get A Haircut" became Thorogood’s new calling card, a tune as beloved now as the other big hits in his catalogue — Bad To The Bone, and his classic reboot of Bo Diddley’s House Rent Blues/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer — and one that, unlike many of his hits, he penned himself.

“We just got incredibly lucky with the timing,” Thorogood said in a recent phone interview. “The grunge rock/garage thing was big at that time. I said, ‘Eventually, Neil Young is going to write a song like this. And he’s going to give it to Nirvana or Alice In Chains or someone like that.
“Actually, the song is the same song as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young when they sang, ‘I almost cut my hair.’ Sometimes, something is so old it’s new. But what really thrilled me is that when we did it, the song went to No. 1 requested and No. 1 most played song in Canada on FM radio. Not in sales, but you take a No. 1 for what it is. ‘Well, Canada is our place! We’re going to play Haircut for the rest of our lives up there.’”

Although the song has been part of his live arsenal for decades, there is a good reason why Thorogood hadn’t recorded the song until now.
“I’ve been singing it since 1970,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m not a flat-picker, that style that Hubert Sumlin and Eric Clapton play. I’m a finger picker — I can never get that lick down. Actually, it’s a variation of the Whole Lotta Love lick. I could never play that.
“But next to Howlin’ Wolf, nobody can do Howlin’ Wolf like I can.”

Although Thorogood is slinging an unlikely golden Gibson Les Paul on the ICON album cover, on the back he is showing off a classic semi-hollow body Gibson ES-125, the guitar on which he built his signature sound. (Thorogood has two of these that have become legend, White Fang and Blacktooth.)
“There I am looking like a tough inner-city rock punk,” he said with a chuckle. “That was the energy I was trying to portray anyway. That’s the rock thing, isn’t it?” [extract from George's Website]
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This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my CD copy of his 1993 album, and includes full album artwork for both CD and Vinyl.  Although this is not his best release (just love his first two releases from the late 70's) this is still an impressive collection of hard to the bone tracks that have his trademark boogie/blues signature clearly evident.
Oh, and the title track brings back 'fond' memories when my ol' man would say to me "Get a haircut son, and get a real job"
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Tracklist
Get A Haircut (4:10)
Howlin' For My Baby (5:11)
Killer's Bluze (6:07)
Down In The Bottom (4:00)
I'm Ready (3:35)
Cops And Robbers (4:47)
Gone Dead Train (4:05)
Want Ad Blues (5:03)
My Friend Robert (2:27)
Baby Don't Go (3:24)

The Destroyers were:
George Thorogood (Guitar & Vocals)
Bill Blough (Bass)
Hank Carter (Keyboards, Sax & Backing Vocals)
Jeff Simon (Drums)
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Haircut Link (104Mb) New Link 26/06/2016
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