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Album Review

There isn't much mystery involved with a George Thorogood record — you know you're going to get some raunchy slide guitar, growled vocals, barroom ready rockers and loads of rough and ready blues & roll. The only real question is will Thorogood and his group deliver the real deal Thorogood of the past or a watered-down imitation. His 2006 album The Hard Stuff delivers the hard stuff in a way Thorogood hasn't for awhile. The title track serves notice right away that Thorogood's heart and soul are in all the way. It rips and hollers like classic Destroyers; Thorogood evens sounds passionate and angry for a change. The rest of the record struggles a bit to keep up but is varied and exciting enough to sound like the soundtrack to a wild night at the local old-timers bar. There's some New Orleans R&B (a cover of "Hello, Josephine") jumpy blues ("Moving, Love Doctor," a faithful and raucous cover of the great Hound Dog Taylor's "Give Me Back My Wig"), hard driving, generic (in a good way) rockers ("I Got My Eyes on You," "Any Town USA," "Rock Party") and a John Lee Hooker cover ("Huckle Up Baby"). All of which are pretty standard for Thorogood but the fire with which he runs through his usual paces on The Hard Stuff adds enough vigor to make it an impressive addition to the man's catalog. To his credit, there are some welcome surprises that liven things up immeasurably: the tender and sweet late night ballad ("Little Rain") which shows admirable restraint and sports a gloriously clichéd and perfect sax solo, a rollicking acoustic slide workout on Johnny Shines' "Dynaflow Blues," and most surprising of all, a jangling and reverent cover of Bob Dylan's "Drifter's Tale." While the record doesn't exactly capture the loose, rock hard feel of albums he cut in his glory days, it is no patch on them and should remind people that Thorogood is a master of good time rockin' blues.


Born: 24 December 1950 in Wilmington, DE

Genre: Rock

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

A blues-rock guitarist who draws his inspiration from Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor, and Chuck Berry, George Thorogood never earned much respect from blues purists, but he became a popular favorite in the early '80s through repeated exposure on FM radio and the arena rock circuit. Thorogood's music was always loud, simple, and direct — his riffs and licks were taken straight out of '50s Chicago blues and rock & roll — but his formulaic approach helped him gain a rather large audience...
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