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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

An excellent return to form

This album represents everything that made me follow Social Distortion when I was a teenager- a sense of romanticized danger, sleaze, tough outsides-with-a-mushy-inside mentality, capped off with a pack of cigarettes rolled up my sleeve; Mike Ness and company provide the perfect musical soundscape for driving down the PCH in a classic car with my girl by my side.

Well worth the long wait, this shall be played again and again for the next several months.

Social Generic Disappointing Distortion

Let's see, where to begin. From "California(Hustle and Flow)", which should've stayed on a Black Crowes album, to the rest of this generic shlock, Social Distortion has left Punk, and Good Rock N' Roll for that matter, long behind. If it were a CD, I would take it back, and put in the used bin, just sad, and completely uninspired considering how long it took them to make this. Dennis Danell would be sad by this release. Oh well, Mike Ness is a happy Vegetarian Millionaire who has left his past far far behind him, and us as fans.

aged scotch

over and over you hear the same complaints...." not what they used to be...blah blah blah..." This Disc is SOLID!! this band is REAL!! okay so there is no mommies little monster, okay...grow up! this band is aging perfectly, more like a good scotch than a fine wine.. still alittle rough around the edges but smooth. Life goes on and people age, you can't run around smashing windows and getting in fights, you grow up and mellow. That's what is going on here, they still rock, just sing about what's real...great guitar work, great back beat...SOLID!


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,...
Full Bio
Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Deluxe Edition), Social Distortion
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