Recently released on March 25, 2003, George Thorogood and the Destroyers' Ride 'til I Die is their 11th studio album and GT&D's first with Eagle Records of England. Eagle also is the label of Peter Green Splinter Group. The album was produced by the legendary Jim Gaines.
What can I say? I love this release. Is Thorogood a has-been? I doubt it. If so he has been a beloved rock blues has-been for over twenty five years. His last studio record (Half a Boy/Half a Man) was released in 1999 and wasn't well received by fans or critics. Ride 'Til I Die will most certaintly turn the tables. It is a great record, and his best since Maverick (2002). That disc, along with Move It On Over (1990), is considered by many to be his best album. However, Ride 'Til I Die may well become the definitive Destroyer album.
There are thirteen cuts on this album, the only original being Sweet Little Lady. The rest are covers either written or sung by some of the greats, among them Eddie Shaw, Hound Dog Taylor, Chuck Berry, Nick Lowe, Bo Diddley, JJ Cale, John Lee Hooker, Eddie Cochran and Elvin Bishop who also guests on guitar.
The music starts off with sax man Eddie Shaws' Greedy Man followed by American Made which gets an anthem rock rendering and should become a show stopper. Sweet Little Lady, the sole original, is a chuck berry-ish (sweet little rock 'n' roller) type tune and may be George's own grown up Sweet Little Sixteen. Don't Let The Bossman Get You Down is the bluesiest songs on the disc bluesiest of all songs on disc. Written by Elvin Bishop who plays the tasty guitar licks. I was somewhat suprised to see a JJ Cale song. Devil In Disguise is given a Chuck Berry twist and features some raunchy (read scratchy) sax playing by Hank Carter. Hound Dog Taylor's She's Gone Too is a John Lee Hooker style boogie whose sound recalls Bad to the Bone. Although written by Bo Diddley, You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care) definitely contains even more of the JLH boogie stamp via ZZ Top. Fifties rocker Eddie Cochran's My Way is done George's way and has nice slide and sax licks. That's It, I Quit [Nick Lowe] sounds like Chuck Berry meets Cheap Trick.
The weakest cut on the CD is I Wash My Hands In Muddy Water, which Thorogood gives a country-ish rockabilly treatment. Chuck Berry's Move It - not to be confused with George's classic Move It On Over - is rockabilly with a Nick Lowe feel to it. Strange. This sounds more like Nick Lowe than the tune penned by him. The disc's last selection is John Lee Hooker's Ride 'Til I Die. It's odd that RTID is listed as a bonus track giving that it's the title track. It features Thorogood's trademark stuttering, staccato string picking. Sandwiched in the middle of this thirteen track lineup is The Fixer, a song whose lyrics typify Thorogoods' blues bravado and persona. As GT says in The Fixer, "I just snap my fingers and the fixer gets it done." And George and his Destroyers do exactly that, get it done. Ride 'Til I Die is an enjoyable effort from a performer that can still rock the house.
Personnel: George Thorogood (vocals, slide guitar); Hank Carter (vocals, saxophone); Jeff Simon (vocals, percussion); Tom Hambridge (vocals); Jimmy Suhler (newest band member) & Elvin Bishop (guitar); Bill Blough (bass)
George Thorogood & the Destroyers debut release on Eagle Records, Ride 'Til I Die, can be purchased by clicking on the album cover or the banner below.
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