No Guts... No Glory
Epic Records, 1983
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/14/2004
In all respects, No Guts... No Glory, the fifth release from Jacksonville, Florida-based boogie boys Molly Hatchet should have been a fan's dream come true. This disc marked the return of lead singer Danny Joe Brown after a two-album absence, and introduced new member John Galvin (who was a member of Brown's solo band) on keyboards.
And, in some respects, this disc does show a return to form - at least, the first half of it does. Like its brother albums, No Guts... No Glory has some extremely strong moments, as well as some very weak tracks. The only difference between this disc and the previous effort Take No Prisoners is that it's a little harder for this one to regain its equilibrium after hitting a lemon of a song.
First, the strengths - and, make no mistake, there are enough highlights on this album to make me recommend you checking it out. Brown's return to the fold shows that his vocals, in many ways, had matured since his last time fronting Hatchet on Flirtin' With Disaster. Listen to his style of singing on tracks like "Fall Of The Peacemakers" or "Under The Gun," and you can hear a marked inprovement. (Not that Brown's vocals were bad on the first two Molly Hatchet discs; if anything, his efforts here make it sound like Brown had finally found his comfort zone.) Likewise, the addition of Galvin to the band is a welcome one, adding to the solid musicianship already present among the members. You need proof? Check out the instrumental "Both Sides" and listen to the solid interplay. While this track brings to mind some of the work of The Allman Brothers Band, the jams never stretch too long, and the group seems to know to end the song with the listener wanting a whole lot more instead of risking overstaying its welcome. Dare I also mention the inclusion of some acoustic and 12-string guitar work within the songs? I dare, I dare.
And, in terms of the first half of the disc (at least in terms of the original track order - for reasons I don't know, this record was pulled off the shelves and re-released with new artwork and a new track order. Pity, 'cause the way it was, the first five songs were absolutely killer. Hearing tracks like "Both Sides," "On The Prowl" and "Fall Of The Peacemakers" would leave you thinking without a doubt that Molly Hatchet was most definitely back.
Then again, maybe the tracks were shuffled because, the way things were, the second half of the disc threatened to capsize the whole ship. I'll leave "Sweet Dixie" out of the critical drubbing, though it hardly seemed necessary at this stage in the game for Brown and company to wave the Confederate flag to their heritage. The three tracks in question - "What Does It Matter," "What's It Gonna Take" and "Kinda Like Love" - make one wonder just what the hell the boys were thinking. Both "What Does It Matter" and "What's It Gonna Take" sound like tired old re-treads, while "Kinda Like Love" is a truck-stop lovefest gone terribly wrong. There's a word for songs like these: buzzkill.
To be fair, though, Molly Hatchet was again undergoing a regrouping with Brown rejoining, so I guess some leniance should be granted. Likewise, the strong moments on this album do show the power that the band had, even after five albums. Yet No Guts... No Glory is a disc which could have been an absolute barnburner, yet falls flat a few too many times for my level of comfort.