There are some bands you want to always stay the same…..heck, you EXPECT them to stay the same. Their signature sound is so identifiable and so ingrained that it just wouldn’t work if they tried anything different. AC/DC and ZZ Top definitely fit in this category; George Thorogood and his Destroyers created it. Even the self-penned songs sound like the songs George chooses to cover. You won’t find George making like Sting or Peter Gabriel and recording in a never before discovered village in a rainforest. No siree Bob. You won’t find George experimenting with the sound du jour. What you will find is the “world’s greatest bar band” defending their title. And that’s what we’re looking for with Thorogood.
On this album that George has divided into sides as a nod to the good ole vinyl days (in fact, this will be released on vinyl as well as CD and online), he includes mainly covers. The songs on THE DIRTY DOZEN are culled from a Who’s Who in American Blues: Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon are all represented here. Of course, they are no strangers to devotees of Thorogood’s back catalog (think “Who Do You Love”, “I’m Wanted”, “It Wasn’t Me”, etc. etc.) GT & The DD’s have probably done more singlehandedly to expose the mainstream concert going and radio listening masses to the blues masters than anyone else. And more specifically, to songs that many of us would have never heard otherwise. And might I mention, to give credit where credit is due. So when George’s own compositions mimic their influences, it’s understandable. He can’t help it.
Side 1 is made up of new studio recordings for George and the fellas. The album leads with “Tail Dragger”, quintessential Thorogood territory via Willie Dixon. Muddy Water’s “Born Lover” brings back the swaggering confidence of Bad to the Bone (there’s a nurse impressed in the hospital here too!). And “Twenty Dollar Gig” by Mickey Bones proves that you don’t need a whole lot of premise or lyrical mileage to get a point across…just an idea and a couple of rhyming words (gig and rig are at the center of this one).
Side 2 takes on fan favorites…songs called for and performed in concert but many of them out of print. “Howlin’ for My Baby” and “Highway 49” launch Side 2 showing George’s appreciation for Howlin’ Wolf. There’s even a cover here of “Six Days On The Road”.
The gravelly whiskey and smoke stained sounding vocals are there. The slide guitar is there. The sax is there (although for the last several years performed by Buddy Leach instead of longtime Delaware Destroyer Hank Carter). Jim Suhler is the Texan guitar slinger added to the line-up some ten years ago. And long time Destroyer mainstays Bill Blough (bass) and Jeff Simon (drums) have the most consistent rhythm section going down bar none.
And speaking of bars, that’s what George and The Destroyers do best….they bring the bar into the car. And the house. And the stadiums. They do it on THE DIRTY DOZEN. They’ve done it on every single album they’ve ever released. And that’s why we don’t want them to change. As George would say “how sweet it is!”