SERIAL: SD 32-107
CD REISSUE: 1989, Atco/WEA, 32107-2 * 2000, Atco/WEA (Germany), 7567-90385-2
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Rick 'Rattlesnake' Medlocke - lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bottleneck, acoustic and 12 string * Jakson 'Thunderfoot' Spires - drums, percussion and vocals * Greg T Walker - bass guitar, keyboards and vocals * Charlie Hargrett - lead and rhythm guitars
TRACK LISTING: 01 Good Morning * 02 Payin' For It * 03 Diary Of A Workingman * 04 Too Hard To Handle * 05 Fly Away * 06 Dry County * 07 Fire Of The Dragon * 08 Rattlesnake Rock 'n' Roller * 09 Searchin'
I have noticed recently the love in at Glorydazemusic with Molly Hatchet
, so who I am to pour scorn on such a relationship? Even I purchased the Hatchet 5cd set of some of their albums to fill a couple of gaps in my collection plus transfer some of them from vinyl. However I've always been a Blackfoot man, is it because they don't have girlie name? (Ok, I'm joking! about the name at least), but I'd prefer some more crunch, more rock sound and this is generously supplied by these boys, so a lessor classic southern sound than those Molly's. Blackfoot seemed to have a motorized blues ingredient that generally has more spark. The history of Blackfoot has already been worthily covered in George's description on his recent 'Tomcattin' article, and I really can't add anything to this but would also agree with the covers of the trio, they quickly become the David Attenborough of the rock world. Medlocke was last seen on tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd
, (I suppose it pays the bills, but?) they even took time out to visit the UK, a work colleague went to see them, I kept banging on all week about Medlocke, and to keep an eye out for him, but do feel it was lost on him, of the greatness of this guy, never mind.
'Good Morning' is the perfect wake up call and boy did the UK wake up to Blackfoot. This is an all-out assault, equivalent to a dose of high caffeine coffee to get you started. Not a hint of country (partner), it's powerful riffing which undercuts the fluid delivery of Medlocke, he seems to be talking a very high rate of knots.
At this period of time, I don't think there was such a quartet so in tune with each other, compare this to 'Morning Dew' era of the derided 'Vertical Smiles' (maybe worth a fresh look though) to see where they would be just three years later and compare the temperature on the rock gauge, and I think it will show two different extremes.
With 'Payin For It', in the space of 15 seconds they bounce from a Kiss
chorus, to Journey
backing vocals, and then find themselves in a deep UFO
groove which provides a secure perimeter fencing so the song doesn't escape across the border to Mexico.
Blackfoot always seemed to excel at the more thoughtful, even sincere tracks, like' Diary of A Workingman', this is typical Western film material and yes the story is still relevant today. Strong, brooding, quintessential Blackfoot. Although less face it this kind of tune litters the Southern Rock history, for instance Doc Holliday
with 'Lonesome Guitar'. I find with Medlocke singing these type of tunes, you believe him, a hero, like Randolph Scott or John Wayne, just he is not playing a fictional character. If you dissect this further, parts of this tune of it reminds me of Jimmy Page
, just pass the 3 minute mark, that solo there, strains of Led Zeppelin
, 'Stairway to Heaven'?, just a thought, it's the same sentiment.
'Too Hard To Handle' is a blood brother to 'Payin For It' and 'Dry County'. As ferocious as the Pakistan Cricket spin attack! a ball of fury that hits you between the eyes, even a trumpet gets in on the act. The lethal guitaring is likely to do some serious damage to your wrist and upper arm in some air guitar frenzy, brilliant.
Forgive me if this has already happened, but isn't it about time that Blackfoot is given the Classic Rock magazine, The Hard Stuff, Buyers Guide treatment?. Especially as recently they have been scraping the barrel with a feature on the Swansong label, because 'Marauder' would be in the 'Essential Classics' criteria, along with many others I would beg, although I wonder where' Vertical Smiles' would figure?
'Fly Away' has an intro similar to a Brian May
composition off 'The Game' or 'Jazz'. This is too easy, as it just flows from the pen, and another non-stop supply of great tunes. Flawless.
'Dry County' was my first introduction to Blackfoot by way of a double single pack (remember those days?) and today still remains my favourite track by these guys and would command a strong position in my Desert Island Discs. It sounds as fresh today as it was back then, the guitar into sounds somewhat 'industrial', very heavy, steaming barrel of moonshine, so powerful. This is a perfect song, blowing up one mighty storm. This is the General Lee of southern songs, 'Ah, there ain't no Busch nowhere', what the heck does that mean? but sounds so cool. It creates a picture of the kind of driving through the desert as part of 'Fear and Loathing' by Hunter S Thompson.
The burning ashes keep red hot with 'Fire In The Dragon', well if my interpretation is correct, while America had this magnificent tune as an anti-drug song, well compare that to what the UK came up with, we had 'Just So No' from the cast of Grange Hill, says it all really. Similar in feel and story based format as the earlier 'Diary Of A Workingman', this time it's the bridge being the stand out part, being the tear stained vocal with an emotional push onto the chorus. Keep pressing the repeat button to put down my true feelings on how to describe this tune, the soloing is fast, crucial, stinging, an exceptional tune make no mistake.
We complete this album with 'Searchin', could this be best described as the first shades of what was to be discovered on 'Siogo'. The ultimate traveller song, beckoning for greater times, whether they were reached or even achieved is questionable, was 'Siogo' the Holy Grail? By the end you can almost taste the sweat, the atmosphere, like this was played at the finale of a Blackfoot concert.
So there you have it, completion of that 3 album period that Blackfoot stacked a claim as the biggest rooting tooting rock band of the USA. The rocky trail would lead onto the live album, being 'Highway Song (Live)' from 1982 that would cement Blackfoot into folklore and a commercial plus at the same time. At this point all was to change for Blackfoot, what were the pressures put onto the band? record company politics? own decisions?, or the arrival of Ken Hensley
?, momentarily it was a good thing, or did it break up the solid quartet. Was it the case of 4 sparrows and one pigeon being in the same nest, and what happens when they start to outgrow the nest. Of course I am only guessing, not privilege to any core information. Anyway it's all water under the bridge now, or was it white water rapids?
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