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Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Deluxe Edition)

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iTunes Review

Mike Ness is Social Distortion. Guitarist Jonny Wickersham returns on guitar and the rhythm section of bassist Brent Harding and session drummer Josh Freese keeps things tight and focused, but this is the Mike Ness show. It’s primarily his songs and it’s his vocals that identify these tunes. His snarl grants great empathy to the Wickersham co-write “Far Side of Nowhere,” a driving sorrow to the cover of Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken” and a defiant pride to “Still Alive.” The guitars are pure Social Distortion as they buckle behind with a crunchy distortion that floats somewhere between punk and country music. “Can’t Take It With You” adds a backing choir who evoke gospel motifs. The characters in these songs are, as one title implies, “Diamond In the Rough.” They’ve been to hell or jail and back. Much like Ness’ hero, Johnny Cash, the music is fused with a strong sense of mortality. Ness saved the best for last, as the bonus cuts on the Deluxe Edition of the album are among the three strongest tracks, including the acoustic-based “Down Here (With the Rest of Us).”

Customer Reviews

Sounds Like Nickelback?

If you think this sounds like Nickelback you better go back and listen to Nickelback. This album may be more mainstream but it will also be more appealing to a wider audience and when SD plays live it will be a good mix in with their punk sound. IMHO upon first listen this is a good rock record and to me has more of a Neil Young grunge sound to it.

Doesn't sound like Nickelback to me.

Saying they sound like Nickelback is ridiculous. Sure, they aren't as punk as they were back in the 90's, but they have a more classic rock n roll sound. No where close to Nickelback and Chad's gross groggy voice. I will agree, they do slightly sound more mainstream but I wouldn't say they sold their souls. I think this album was well worth the wait and they did an amazing job on it!

Live loud Rock N Roll

Mike Ness, Old new and in between ! ALL GOOD !


Formed: 1978 in Fullerton, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The enduring L.A. punk band Social Distortion has overcome numerous personnel shifts, the demise of the Los Angeles hardcore scene that spawned them, and the heroin addiction of singer/guitarist/bandleader Mike Ness to achieve a measure mainstream acceptance for their rootsy, hard-hitting punk without compromise. Inspired by the fertile L.A. punk scene, Ness formed the group in 1978 with drummer Casey Royer and brothers Frank (bass) and Rikk Agnew (guitar). When the brothers left to join the Adolescents,...
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Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Deluxe Edition), Social Distortion
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