George Thorogood, The Dirty Dozen
Most of the time when an artist releases an album full of covers it’s a sure sign that they have a monster case of “writers block” or they are well past the zenith of their creativity. In the case of George Thorogood, it’s merely business as usual. George has been a master of re-working and mining the masters and not so well known’s of the Blues and early Rock N’ Roll pantheon through-out his career. Certainly many of George Thorogood’s most well known songs, like Bad to the Bone, I Drink Alone, Gear Jammer and You Talk Too Much are from his guitar and pen. An equal amount of his most memorable songs and his signature sound, period, are close assimilations of the likes of Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Chuck Berry. So the fact that Thorogood’s new Album, Dirty Dozen is nothing but covers, doesn’t mean it’s an album to be immediately avoided. In fact it’s quite good and one of my favorite George Thorogood albums in a good long time.
On Dirty Dozen George is backed by the same band that was with him for his recording debut back in 1977 and most of his career. Though for this outing bassist, Bill Blough and drummer, Jeff Simon are now supplemented with some searing Texas Blues lead guitar work form Jim Suhler. Suhler is a great counter punch for George’s always spectacular slide guitar playing and really gives this album much more grit and sonic depth.
Besides channeling his previously mentioned usual suspects, George steps up and hits one out of the park from Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon, with Howlin’ for My Baby. Some others on the album that keep me hitting the repeat button are Six days on the Road, which is guaranteed to add about 10 miles an average to you speed if you happen to be driving while listening. Also the spend some time with the rave up in the Who Do You Love vein, Tail Dragger and the slightly novelty-esq lyrics of $20 Gig. (Another genera that George has been known to turn into gold in years past)
The long and the short of The Dirty Dozen is this; if you’ve been a fan of Thorogood or rootsy authentic Blues and seminal Rock then jump right in. Or if want the mood and feel of a sweaty, beer soaked road house on Highway 69 without the expense of traveling there, you’ll love the new George Thorogood album.