Jimmy Farrar - vocals
Dave Hlubeck - guitar
Steve Holland - guitar
Duane Roland - guitar
Banner Thomas - bass
Bruce Crump - drums
There's a tradition of lesser rock bands making their name in the shadow of older acts. The Moody Blues quickly claimed a segment of The Beatles' abandoned audience. Aerosmith jumped in while The Rolling Stones worked through obsessions with heroin and country music. KISS took off their make-up and Motley Crue stood in the wings. And, of course, everybody filled in for Bob Dylan.
Molly Hatchet, however, would've done just fine even if Lynyrd Skynyrd hadn't met their end in tragedy. Addled music critics - already baffled that Molly Hatchet could even get signed when The Ramones had clearly destroyed all previous rock genres - made their simplistic assumptions. Few noticed that Molly Hatchet (named after a notorious southern prostitute who would routinely behead her customers post-copulation) sported sharp songwriting beneath the berserker Viking imagery of their album covers.
Old-fashioned rock radio, however, was perfectly happy to play the best tracks from Molly Hatchet's Flirtin' with Disaster. And when frontman Danny Joe Brown left the band for personal reasons related to the hard drinking life of a musician on the road, Jimmy Farrar stepped in as lead vocalist. To the surprise of even longtime fans, the band only became more inventive and ambitious with 1980's Beatin' the Odds and 1981's Take No Prisoners.
Not to say that Los Angeles was experiencing Hatchet fever on February 12, 1982. You can hear that the band drew an appreciative crowd for this King Biscuit live show. Outside the Palladium, though, Los Angeles was surrendering its radio play to Siouxie Sioux and Oingo Boingo. Molly Hatchet had transcended the Southern Rock cliches, but 1978 was still a full decade in the past. By the end of the year, Brown would be back in the band for the recording of No Guts….No Glory. From there, guitarist Dave Hlubek would have a fairly good ear for the changing times, leading the band toward more of a Top 40 sound for The Deed Is Done.
Sadly, Molly Hatchet was too heavy to pull off the same pop/rock that made chubby stars out of .38 Special. Hlubek left the band, and other members soon followed. The version of Molly Hatchet that tours the world today contains no original members. But we've still got this fine document of the definitive Farrar years, including the Tower of Power horn section stepping in on "Lady Luck." Savor the indulgence of a classic Southern Rock wind-up of "Gator Country." Try counting all the pop genres within the big finish of "Boogie No More" - and marvel at how Farrar, throughout it all, maintains a rock 'n' roll spirit that's true to the core.