Pawed by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew
5 Stars *****
In 1982 Britain was invaded by four men from
Jacksonville, U.S.A. Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, those four
desperadoes of Blackfoot swept across the British Isles taking all before
them. This Dog was lucky enough to take them on at Newcastle City Hall,
where part of this recording came from. Until that night I had heard of
Southern Rock, and was the proud owner of several ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’
albums. I had seen them blow my beloved ‘Rolling Stones’ off the stage
at Knebworth, and then touring as support with ‘Golden Earring’. I had
seen ‘The Skynyrd’ just about finish off the career of the Dutch band.
I mean how do you follow ‘Freebird’?
But on that dark and windy day in Geordie Land (man, it
blows a gale up there, freezing my Southern English bones to the core)
seeing Blackfoot in the flesh, whipping the notoriously difficult to
please Newcastle crowd into a frenzy, made me understand what it was all
Before I met Blackfoot I thought Jack Daniel’s was
the president of Texas (well, I got that bit right); snakebites were what
you got from angry anacondas; pussy was an affectionate name for next
door’s moggy; and Tai-Wan, Tai-Pai, and Thailand were all the same
place. It was also about that time that I realized how much my parents had
learned in between me being 14 and 21. (I just hope my young daughter
learns that her parents cannot actually be as stupid as she thinks).
Blackfoot was the band that made a generation of
Geordies grow their hair long, wear Cowboy boots, start drinking alcohol
other than Newcastle Brown Ale, and realize there was a Rock ‘n’ Roll
world out there aside from ‘The Animals’ and ‘Lindisfarne’. In
other words, it was an education, a privilege, and a revelation to see
these guys go about their business.
You knew it was going to be a special night when you
arrived at the city hall to see the Blackfoot tour bus outside and
emblazoned down one side, in big red letters, was the legend ‘Liquor in
the Front and Poker in the Back’.
As soon as Blackfoot hit the stage they owned the
place. Unlike the neutron bomb this bunch knocks the building flat and
leaves the people standing stunned in awe. There was no warning. They just
hit the stage, plugged in, and mugged you.
In the middle of the stage was the huge Ricky Medlocke
- part redneck, part God - as he belted out the lead vocals ripping solos
out of his axe with the venom mixed with joy only a man completely in
charge of his karma can do. Next to him sharing lead guitar duties (there
was no rhythm guitar in Blackfoot, definitely two lead guitars) was
Charlie ‘Daddy Long Legs’ Hargrett, high stepping out to the edge of
the stage to grin, nod, and leer at the bewitched rabble. All out of our
seats, drunk on the heady intoxicating cocktail of Rock ‘n’ Roll,
Blackfoot was letting us have.
As with all good bass players the most sinister member
of the band was the silent, but deadly Greg T. Walker, who locked each
song down with his gut wrenching bass. Then behind the bins was Jakson
‘Thunderfoot’ Spires, and if you really need to find out why he was
called Thunderfoot, just listen to opening song ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’,
and you know.
When you’re around these dogs you do not want to come
out with silly words. So if you need to say anything spell it like
B.A.L.L.A.D.S., because there is nothing like that in this band’s
repertoire. This is music to rock out to, let your hair down, and let go -
enjoy yourself. The music has more teeth and venom than a pit full of
rattlers and once you’ve been bitten you never want to find the
antidote. Do not expect any words of wisdom in the lyrics, it’s all
about being on the road, drinking, passion, sinning, and having a real
All of ‘Blackfoot’s best songs are on this disc, on
what has to be the ‘livest’ recording ever released, the audience
becoming the fifth member of the band. The final two songs of the set,
‘Train Train’ and ‘Highway Song’, (Blackfoot’s own version of
‘Freebird’) clocking in at 15 minutes, are unstoppable and impossible
to follow, leaving the Geordie fans singing the Newcastle anthem ‘Howay
the Lads’ to their new found heroes.
Wounded Bird Records have finally got the rights to
release this album worldwide. Amazingly it was only given a limited
release back in 1982 as a British first-time round on vinyl, but it has
finally been released on CD and a very good job Wounded Bird have done
with the production. It still sounds as fresh as if it was recorded
yesterday. A must have for any serious lover of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Of course it was too good to last, but that tour in
1982, Blackfoot’s only headlining tour of Britain, will remain in the
minds of all that were lucky enough to see them. Ricky Medlocke has now
joined his brothers in the re-formed ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’ while his old
band mates play under the banner of ‘The Southern All Stars’,
America’s version of ‘Pop’s Pattaya all Stars’. Get some
Blackfoot, we are unlikely to see their like again.
Ricky Medlocke - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Jakson ‘Thunderfoot’ Spires - Drums and Vocals
Greg T. Walker - Bass Guitar and Vocals
Charlie ‘’Daddy Long Legs’’ Hargrett - Lead guitar
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Every Man Should Know His Queenie
Rollin’ and Tumblin’
Trouble In Mind
Howay The Lads
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