Flirtin' With Disaster

Molly Hatchet

Epic Records, 1979

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


In many ways, Flirtin' With Disaster, the sophomore release from Jacksonville, Florida's own Molly Hatchet, was a continuation of their self-titled debut from the year before. Very little, indeed, had changed -- the three-guitar attack a la Lynyrd Skynyrd was still there, their blues-based roots were still very much in evidence, and they still were catchy as hell. (If anything, the overall production of this disc was a tad tighter -- even working from my battered old vinyl copy, I can hear a little more crispness to the sound than I did with Molly Hatchet.)

Yet for all of its successes -- and this record has many of them -- Flirtin' With Disaster is a tiny step backward for Danny Joe Brown and company. While they do find themselves taking a few more chances with their music than they did on their debut, the overall sense of the disc is that, while it's very enjoyable, it doesn't do quite enough to build up Molly Hatchet's case to become the next leader of the Southern Rock throne.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Now, this may make it sound like I disliked this album. Not so. For one thing, they take a chance by selecting a cover version of "It's All Over Now" and absolutely making it their own. I've listened to this disc in its entirety several times over the last few days, and this particular song never ceases to put a smile on my face. In a sense, it's almost like Molly Hatchet rises above the Southern Rock label and just tackles the challenge of being a rock band -- and that's admirable.

Likewise, "Boogie No More" is a truly challenging song, yet one that is well worth the listener's time and effort. The entire band is put through the paces on this one, even undergoing a slight style shift at one point, but they never miss a beat or make it sound like an unnatural occurrence. Interestingly enough, I'd much prefer to hear a track like "Boogie No More" on the radio than "Flirtin' With Disaster," arguably Molly Hatchet's best-known song.

Flirtin' With Disaster contains many such moments -- "One Man's Pleasure" has a distinct Allman Brothers feel to it, and "Jukin' City" is just a fun track to listen to -- all of which show that Molly Hatchet had been doing their homework and were working on refining their sound. Maybe that's why when they fall back on songs that could have easily been on their debut disc that a little air is let out of the balloon.

Case in point: the opening track "Whiskey Man," which, regrettably, does sound a little like a Skynyrd cast-off. Likewise, tracks such as "Gunsmoke" and "Long Time" don't really pack the punch that they should have had, while "Let The Good Times Roll" has the feel of a re-treaded "Trust Your Old Friend" -- namely, it has the feel of being an album-closer in both design and energy.

All of this, though, doesn't really dissipate the energy that the bulk of Flirtin' With Disaster has, and the disc does prove to be a worthy enough follow-up to Molly Hatchet's debut effort. The band's greatest challenge, though, was still facing them - namely, the fact that Southern Rock was fading in popularity.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.