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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Point Blank - 1980 The Hard Way
Point Blank - 1980 The Hard Way

ARTIST: Point Blank
ALBUM: The Hard Way
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1993, MCA (Japan), MVCM-354


LINEUP: John O Daniel - vocals * Rusty Burns - guitars * Kim Davis - guitars * Bill Randolph - bass * Peter Gruen - drums * Karl Berke - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Turning Back * 02 The Hard Way * 03 On The Run * 04 Highway Star (Live) * 05 Rock n Roll Soldier * 06 Guessing Game * 07 Wrong To Cry (Live) * 08 Thank You Mama (Live)


Point Blank appear to have been forgotten in the annals of boogie history, but their output rivals ZZ Top or Blackfoot any day of the week. When this album was recorded there had been slight signs of a more radio friendly approach on 1979's 'Airplay', but it was nullified temporarily with a last showing of boogie prowess. 'The Hard Way' is more accessible than the first two albums, 'Point Blank' (1976) and the mighty 'Second Season' (1977), but somewhat less commercial than 'Airplay'. The album was comprised of five studio cuts with three live tracks. An intriguing mixture, but not any worse the wear for it. The band were equally as powerful in the studio as they were live.

The Songs
It's hard not to compare the sound to ZZ Top, after all producer Bill Ham was responsible for their early success and he did the same for Point Blank. For 1980 the heaviness on display easily outdid ZZ Top or any of their peers. 'Turning Back' has the obligatory 'southern fried' riffs, outdated term, but the best description. The wall of noise Point Blank create is punishing and has a sludgy feel. Not grunge like, but very dirty rock and roll, raw and intense. 'Rock 'N' Roll Soldier' is an all time anthem and another southern scorcher. This puts even AC/DC to shame in the particular time span. 'Guessing Game' sees some keyboard use, but is still very heavy and has a nice AORish chorus. The title track goes for the throat, another upbeat onslaught while 'On The Run' is more traditional Southern fare. Deep Purple's 'Highway Star' is covered live, and a furious interpretation to boot. Obviously these guys owed some of their roots to the British pioneers as well. A nice touch. 'Wrong To Cry' is a slow blues workout, while third live number 'Thank You Mama' is fast, concise and experimental, the culmination of a powerful boogie album.

In Summary
Sadly excellent vocalist John O Daniel left the band after 'the Hard Way' and was replaced by Bobby Keith for the AOR influenced 'American Excess' and 'On A Roll'. This could be Point Blank's definitive boogie moment of their first four efforts. 'The Hard Way' was the result of three albums which hinted at what the band was capable of. This is essential as any Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd or .38 Special album. Unfortunately Point Blank have become an afterthought in the modern era, while these acts are played to death on rock radio over and over. Boogie never sounded better, if that's any consolation.

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#1 | dangerzone on November 13 2008 09:42:20
Interesting to note 'Turning Back' first appeared on the first Crimson Tide album which the link for is available here.goodone
#2 | rkbluez on January 14 2012 20:56:28
Probably one of my favorite Southern rock bands along with the mighty Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet...the Johnny O era Point Blank CD's rocked hard and where the best of the bunch...should of been a lot more popular then they where.
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