ARTICLE: The Essential Series: Southern Rock & Boogie AUTHOR: Volume 1 (By Gdazegod) YEAR: 2017
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
Background Having just completed an article whereby we wrote about a selection of West Coast classics, we turn our hand to Boogie. Yes, Southern Rock boogie, prevalent mainly through the late 70's and into the 80's. The boogie sub-genre continues well into the current day, with specific bands out there doing the southern rock thing. It's much harder to find bands like these nowadays because many of them aren't signed to major labels, but believe me - they exist. I need only ask GDM regular David Shaw for help in defining this topic, and seeking out these rare southern bands. This article will focus on a selection of southern rock/boogie oriented albums which tickled my fancy back in the day. It's not a 'be-all and end-all Top 10', just a personal selection. There are reasons why some of these are ahead in the pecking order, but it all boils down to what I had available as a teenager growing up, and what I wasn't able to listen to. Which by the way, wasn't a lot, as most of the big bands of the era were available to me. So, let's kick out the spurs on the ol' boots, and crack that whip!
Creed - 1978 same These guys were from Memphis, and were kicking around the same time as cross-town contemporaries Target. Signed to Asylum Records, this record became a cult favourite for many years, with one particularly fervent fan Freddy DeKuyzer declaring his total addiction for the band. Well, in 2017, Rock Candy Records delivers what all of us have been waiting for. A genuine CD reissue. Songs like the boogie overload of 'Keep On Rockin', the cool as a cucumber 'Firestarter' (with some subtle synth parts) as well as the roaring epic 'Time And Time Again' puts Creed into the compulsory Boogie list. Get the Rock Candy CD if you know what's good for you.
Blackhorse - 1979 same A bunch of rowdy rockers from the Dallas/Fort Worth region, who were just as big locally as their famous Texan cousins ZZ Top and Point Blank. If you were living outside Texas during the late 70's and early 80's, chances are you would never heard of this band. I only came to hear about them years later, and I become hooked. During the 80's they changed course to become an AOR band called The Cauze. But Blackhorse was the real deal when it comes to traditional Texan boogie. R.I.P Gary James.
Doc Holliday - 1980 same Georgia's Doc Holliday are another compulsory addition to the list. A brace of albums for MCA kicked off with this rather boogie-field debut. From their early origins as the band Roadhouse, DH were a southern institution during this era. We'll forgive them for the 'Modern Medicine' debacle shall we?
Molly Hatchet - 1979 Flirtin' With Disaster I remember buying this LP not long after its release in 1979. I loved everything about it; the Frank Frazetta cover art, plus all the songs which had me bopping away like a mad thing. Some classic southern rock/boogie to be found here. 'Whiskey Man', 'It's All Over Now' the title track 'Flirtin' With Disaster' and of course the epic and extended 'Boogie No More'. Need I say anymore?
Henry Paul Band - 1981 Anytime With a long history with The Outlaws, Henry Paul took things to a new level with his own band, starting out with the 'Grey Ghost' LP in 1979. With every new release, the HPB sound become more commercial, including this little beauty 'Anytime'; his third album. As Alun pointed out in his review, Henry, by this stage ,was dabbling with AOR, but still, there's enough southern charm on offer which still makes for great listening years later.
Blackfoot - 1980 Tomcattin' This 1980 album was my first exposure to Blackfoot, not having heard 'Strikes' from the previous year. It was at the heavier end of the spectrum for a southern rock album, with songs like 'Warped' and 'Dream On' and the fan favourite 'Every Man Should Know (Queenie)' sticking out like a sore thumb. This was another band that ventured down the AOR path, which was a mistake to my way of thinking.
Point Blank - 1979 Airplay Texan band Point Blank are firm favourites here at GDM. A very hard working band in the early days, they played anywhere and everywhere. With this album, they were moving out of their trad southern rock origins into something more mainstream, which would also be reflected on the three albums which followed. Another band which went down the AOR route on 1982's 'On A Roll', an album which alienated fans, but they eventually returned to their Texan roots. Some good stuff here, including the fans pick 'Mean To Your Queenie'. R.I.P Rusty Burns and Kim Davis.
Pure Prairie League - 1980 Firin' Up PPL just sneak into my list, and though they sit at the country-fied end of the spectrum, there's enough here to add them to my selections. Of course we were smack dab in the middle of the Vince Gill years, and he certainly made a difference on the three albums he participated on, before going on to become a Country Music Superstar. All PPL albums between 1979 and 1981 are worthy of your attention.
Foghat - 1975 Fool For The City I could take any one of the Foghat albums between 1975 and 1978, and then add them to this list. I can only add one, so I'll add 'Fool For The City'. All the Foghat albums were pretty easy to come by in New Zealand during the 70's, and I had this for many years, and enjoyed the songs here. Very very boogie oriented, no wonder the Yanks fell in love with this British band!
Pat Travers - 1977 Makin' Magic I guess we couldn't let the 70's slide by without mention of Canadian guitarist Pat Travers. This was quite an exciting release for its time, with some screaming guitar work, most noticeably the title track. In the following years, the addition of Pat Thrall changed the sound of the band, but I still go back and listen to this when I can.
In Summary At some point when we get around to a Vol 2 collection, we might add in the likes of the Danny Joe Brown Band, Rose Tattoo, Rory Gallagher, ZZ Top, The Outlaws, Wet Willie, Crimson Tide and Savoy Brown, That's for another day.
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Nice break down of some fine records, GT. Been listening to South Paw, 1880 and Chain lighting recently. Played the Creed CD in the car the other day and it reminded me in parts of the Doobie Brothers.