George Thorogood And The Destroyers (CD Reissue)

George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Rounder, 2013

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


If you want some in your face hard rock/blues, then this reissue of George Thorogood And The Destroyers’ first album is for you. Thorogood had recorded a number of songs during 1974, but they were not released until 1979 after he had become commercially successful, so this self-titled album, issued in 1977, was his official debut.

The album consists of eight classic blues covers and two original compositions. Thorogood will never be mistaken for a traditional blues artist. He has a rock ‘n’ roll heart and brings it to the music. He is also the type of guitar player that you will either like or hate. He is not a great or sophisticated technician but gets by on energy and passion. Think of him and his backing musicians as an excellent bar band that made good. The music may not be the way Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, or Elmore James intended, but it is raucous and always fun.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

While he has added and subtracted some additional musicians along the way, drummer Jeff Simon and bassist Bill Blough back him on the album, with only a second guitarist in places; they both remain with him today.

Thorogood is an artist who gained and has retained much of his popularity by constantly touring. In 1980 he embarked on a 50/50 tour, which meant performing in all 50 states in 50 days.

He is usually at his best when playing up-tempo and at times frenetic rock and blues. Earl Hooker’s “You Got To Lose,” Elmore James’ “Madison Blues,” and especially Bo Diddley’s “Ride On Josephine” all benefit from this approach. That is followed by the story song “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” which still receives radio airplay today.

Less successful are his slower tunes, which tend to expose his limitations. Robert Johnson’s “Kind Hearted Woman” sounds forced and the Elmore James tune, “Can’t Stop Lovin,’” never attains the energy level of the faster tracks.

His own compositions tend to be replicas of his blues covers. While not original in concept or execution, “Homesick Boy” and “Delaware Slide” present Thorogood for what he is, which is a competent, spirited, and at times forceful rock and blues guitarist.

George Thorogood And The Destroyers did not change the course of American blues or rock ‘n’ roll but it made them a bit more enjoyable. It is an album for the beer hall or smoky night club.

Rating: B

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