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Molly Hatchet - 1980 Beatin' The Odds

ARTIST: Molly Hatchet
ALBUM: Beatin' The Odds
SERIAL: FE 36572
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: Epic, EK36572 * 2008, Rock Candy Records, CANDY036


LINEUP: Jimmy Farrar - vocals * Steve Holland - guitars * Duane Roland - guitars * Dave Hlubeck - guitars * Banner Thomas - bass * Bruce Crump - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Beatin' The Odds * 02 Double Talker * 03 The Rambler * 04 Sailor * 05 Dead And Gone * 06 Few And Far Between * 07 Penthouse Pauper * 08 Get Her Back * 09 Poison Pen


After only two albums, the timeless 1978 self titled debut and 1979's 'Flirtin' With Disaster', vocalist Danny Joe Brown left Molly Hatchet. Brown was worn out from the relentless touring and wanted to form his own solo band, which he did with future Hatchet men Bobby Ingram and John Galvin. Hatchet responded by hiring Jimmy Farrar, whose vocals were far smoother than the roughouse Southern delivery of Brown. This led many to accuse Hatchet of losing their distinctive sound sans Brown, but the music was still Southern boogie of the highest grade, Farrar more than worthy of the position. The album hit no 25, but further releases failed to chart, this regarded as the beginning of Hatchet's commercial decline.

The Songs
The titanic riff running through the title cut is one of Hatchet's more memorable, and Farrar's vocals are considerably more radio friendly than Brown's. The swagger continues with the tough 'Double Talker', where Farrar gets mean vocally, accompanied by an able rhythm section and the famed guitar trio. 'The Rambler' is less intense, an acoustic showcase which builds up to a series of riveting guitar solos. A certain chord change here is identical to Sheriff's later 'Living For A Dream' of all tracks. The pace is maintained with 'Sailor', staunch Southern material which wipes the floor with what .38 Special were doing. Kudos for the whistle and subsequent high energy soloing. The album slows down with 'Dead And Gone' and 'Few And Far Between', although the latter is as brazen as you could wish for riff wise. 'Penthouse Pauper' is not related to the Point Blank song of the same title, and curiously less imposing, but still vintage Hatchet. 'Get Her Back' and 'Poison Pen' are redeemed more by the guitar wall of noise than the actual melodies, which fail to measure up to the first four mentioned songs.

In Summary
Not a perfect set, but one that ranks with anything Hatchet ever produced. Hatchet had perfected their sound, and contrary to common views, was musically similar to the first two albums. The title cut remains an all time favourite. Farrar hung around for one more effort, 1981's 'Take No Prisoners', before Brown returned for 1983's 'No Guts, No Glory'. Unfortunately the damage had been done by the Farrar years and Brown's return failed to sell albums. This was sad as Farrar had lent Hatchet a unique voice and shown that they could still maintain their identity without Brown.

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#1 | whiterook on July 29 2010 15:25:57
This is a Southern Rock masterpiece. 'The Rambler' is one of the best ballads the genre ever produced. Should have been a huge hit. BTW, Penthouse Pauper is a John Fogerty song off CCR's 'Bayou Country' album.
#2 | gdazegod on November 05 2011 06:49:08
Really have to get around to reviewing the first two monster LPs from this great band.
#3 | englandashes on November 07 2011 13:53:46
Any ideas if Jimmy Farrar recorded anything after he left?, played this last night, I still prefer it over the debut which also got a spin!
#4 | swazi on November 07 2011 15:25:51
Apparently yes, with the Southern Rock Allstars. Check here:

#5 | englandashes on November 07 2011 20:58:25
Much appreciated Swazi, I'll check them out, many thanks!

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