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Update September 2017

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Mott the Dog

Update September 16, 2017

Molly Hatchet: ‘Justice’ - 3 stars


Molly Hatchet were formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1971 by Dave Hlubek and slowly rose to fame over the years, playing their own variation of Southern Rock with a triple lead guitar roster that earned them comparisons with Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Things progressed nicely for the band as they went through the process of recording their first three albums; “Molly Hatchet” (1978), “Flirtin’ with Disaster” (1979) and “Beatin’ the Odds” (1980).  “Flirtin’ with Disaster” was their most successful album, reaching number nineteen on the American billboard charts and on the strength of those first three releases the band were able to tour the world to sold out shows.

Molly Hatchet in 2010. (Photo by Mollyhatchetband/Wikipedia commons)

Sadly, since then, it has been a slow, ever-decreasing circle of diminishing returns for Molly Hatchet, with the band often foregoing their Southern Rock roots to play more mainstream Hard Rock.  Original founder and lead guitarist Dave Hlubek departed in 1987, leaving the others to carry on, but in 1990, at a show in Ohio, Molly Hatchet (as a band) announced from the stage that it would be their last performance.

Perhaps it would have been better to have left with their legacy still intact, but in 1991 a new version of Molly Hatchet was revived for touring purposes with no original members.  Bobby Ingram, who had joined in 1987 as a replacement for Dave Hlubek had gone to court to acquire the rights to the Molly Hatchet name. 

They would not record another album for five years and throughout the Nineties there were no original members of Molly Hatchet in the band.  Several albums were recorded later however; a couple of studio offerings and copious amounts of live albums and greatest hits were released to keep the flag flying.

Since the band’s formation Molly Hatchet have gone through 17 members in the line-up, some of them being in the band twice, and an additional ten touring members have pitched in when the guys were a bit short.  In 2005 Dave Hlubek was invited to rejoin his own band and accepted the offer, although on that year’s Molly Hatchet album, “Rainbow Warriors”, his photo does not appear on the cover, nor does he get any songwriting credit.  Bobby Ingram appeared to still have his hand firmly on the tiller.

Five years later in 2010 we were presented with this week’s reviewed album, “Justice”.  To be fair it’s not that bad, opening with a trio of rockers with all the things you expect from Southern Rock - good thumping tunes with gruff vocals and screaming guitars.  “Flying On The Wings of Angels” is a beautifully haunting ballad about losing a child and raises goosebumps, whilst the last three songs really go for the throat and are full blown rockers in the traditional Southern Rock style.  Overall though the album is a bit like a mirror of Molly Hatchet in the Nineties: no original members and no original ideas!

Molly Hatchet lineup on “Justice”:

Bobby Ingram - guitar

Dave Hlubek - guitar

John Galvin - keyboards

Phil McCormack - vocals

Tim Lindsey - bass guitar

Shawn Beamer - drums

Track List:

Been to Heaven, Been to Hell

Safe in My Skin

Deep Water

American Pride

I’m Gonna Live Till I Die

Fly On The Wings of Angels (Somers Song)

As Heaven is Forever

Tomorrow and Forever


In The Darkness of the Night


Note: Written by Hells Bells and Mott the Dog.  Mott The Dog and his cronies can often be found in Jameson’s Irish Pub in front of Nova Park on Soi AR, supping a light ale.

Update September 9, 2017

Mott the Hoople: ‘Mott’ - 5 stars


Mott the Hoople in 1974.

“Mott’ was Mott the Hoople’s seminal album, released just after they had cut the safety belt from David Bowie’s writing and arranging.  The year was 1973 and it was to be a year of success and upheaval for the band.

Opening with “All The Way From Memphis”, this is a rock ‘n’ roll chronicle of the fraught and fragmented journey to Memphis that culminated in Mott the Hoople’s triumphant end of tour gig and their subsequent assault on Elvis Presley’s Gracelands mansion. (For more details of this please read Ian Hunter’s “Diary of a Rock ‘N’ Roll star”).  When this dog first heard the opening line of “Memphis” …”Forgot my six string razor and hit the sky”... it taught him a whole new way to growl.

Next up is “Whizz Kid”, with Ian Hunter’s reflections on a certain persistent groupie, a lovely slab of Glam Rock.

The pivotal song on ‘Mott’ is “Hymn For The Dudes”, with Ian Hunter directing his lyrics at his young and enthusiastic audience, whilst warning his contemporaries about the pedestal they were setting themselves upon:

“Correct your heads, for there’s a new song rising

High above the waves

Go write your time, go sing it on the street

Go tell the world, but you go brave

You ain’t the nazz….

You’re just a buzz….

Some kinda temporary…..”

Eleven months after the release of “All The Young Dudes”, which was written by David Bowie, Mott the Hoople unleashed “Honaloochie Boogie”.  This was a smash hit and a perfect piece of writing that was to establish Ian Hunter’s pop credentials.

Hunter showed that he was capable of astonishing flashes of percipience and with “Violence” he brilliantly foretold the underground mood and coming of the Punk generation.  This song culminates with some insane violin and a fight scene in a blazing fadeout.

“Drivin’ Sister”, with its hard, raunchy riffs and lyrics due to Mott the Hoople’s fascination with fast cars, was the perfect opener for their live set at the time.

“The Ballad of Mott the Hoople” referred to the time when the band temporarily split in disillusionment, before their triumphant return after linking up with David Bowie.

“I’m A Cadillac / El Camino Dolo Roso” is Mick Ralph’s final contribution to Mott the Hoople as a songwriter.  It is a wonderful piece of music that comes in two pieces, with Ralph revealing some of the wonderful guitar playing he was capable of and which he would go on to show in Bad Company in the coming months after leaving Mott. 

The album concludes with “I Wish I Was Your Mother”, which is a heavily Dylan-flavoured piece addressing the matter of strong jealousy.  It remains, along with “All The Way from Memphis” as a permanent fixture in the Ian Hunter set-list to this day and it brings the album to a fitting close.

With the release of this fine offering Mott the Hoople were to become one of the biggest bands in the world.  “Mott” went top 10 in the U.K. and top 40 in the U.S.  Notably, however, it was voted ‘Album of the Year’ in U.S. magazines Rolling Stone and Creem.

True fact: Surprisingly, this album and band were not named after Mott the Dog but Wilard Manus’s excellent novel “Mott the Hoople”.

Mott the Hoople on this album:

Ian Hunter – vocals/piano/guitar

Mick Ralphs – guitar/organ/vocals

Overend Walls - bass

Buffin - drums

Auxiliary Musicians:

Andy Mackay - saxophone

Paul Buckmaster - electric cello

Graham Preskitt - manic violin

The Lovely Thunderthighs - backing vocals

Track List:

All The Way From Memphis

Whizz Kid

Hymn For The Dudes

Honaloochie Boogie


Drivin’ Sister

Ballad of Mott the Hoople

I’m a Cadillac/ El Camino Dolo Roso

I Wish I Was Your Mother

Note: Written by Mott the Dog and Hells Bells. Mott and his cronies can often be found discussing their favorite rock ’n’ roll topics in Jameson’s Pub, Nova Park Hotel Soi AR, North Pattaya.

Update September 2, 2017

Black Star Riders: ‘Heavy Fire’ - 5 stars

Let’s be clear from the start, this is not an offering by a Thin Lizzy tribute act, this is a 100% Black Star Riders album.

Having just completed a successful headline tour of Europe last month, their set list included eighteen songs over two hours with seven from this latest album, six from “All Hell Broke Loose” and four from “The Killer Instinct”, plus one harking back to Thin Lizzy days, “The Boys are Back in Town” played in mid-set, but that after all is a classic and almost everybody plays it.

Scott Gorham of the Black Star Riders. (Photo/ Harpic Bryant/Breezeridge Photography)

After the release of their debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose” in May of 2013, followed by “The Killer Instinct” in February 2015, the band have now really hit their stride with this, their third opus, “Heavy Fire”, produced by the man of the hour Nick Raskuliecz.

Black Star Riders are basically an American band with four seasoned, professional top notch rock ‘n’ rollers in Damon Johnson and Scott Gorham on lead guitar, Robbie Crane on bass guitar, Jimmy DeGrasso (now replaced by Chad Szeliga) on drums and Irishman Ricky Warwick on occasional guitar and vocals.  Yes, Scott Gorham was previously one of the lead guitarists in Thin Lizzy, but then Ricky Warwick was the main man in The Almighty and nobody seems to hold that against him.

If you like Heavy Rock (not Heavy Metal, there is definitely a difference there) with a hard hitting bouncy beat, screaming twin lead guitars, a romping bass, hard hitting drums, witty lyrics about fast cars, love and lust and alcohol fueled nights, all sung in an Irish brogue with short, sharp snappy songs, this is the album for you.

As soon as the opening title track, “Heavy Fire”, belts out of your speakers you know you are in for a genuine rock ’n’ roll treat.  The pace never lets up, giving you one up-tempo rocker after another.  When you put this album on in the car, make sure to watch your speedometer as it just encourages you to go faster and faster. 

Highlights are a plenty: “Ticket to Rise” is so catchy it should be a single for radio play with its Beatles refrain, oh no, not more comparisons (it’s even got a Rolling Stone’s type female backing vocal ending); the epic acoustic closing ballad “Fade” finishes with a showboating guitar solo, and the all out rock of “Who Rides the Tiger” leaves you in no doubt as to what sort of music this band likes to play.  Then, who cannot associate with a song called “Dancing with the Wrong Girl”?

Sticking to this formula will make 2017 the best year yet for the band.  Thin Lizzy and especially Phil Lynott will never be forgotten, but the Black Star Riders can make their own giant footsteps from now on.

Lineup on the album:

Ricky Warwick – guitar and lead vocals

Scott Gorham- guitar

Damon Johnson- guitar

Robbie Crane – bass guitar

Jimmy Degrasso- drums

Track List:

Heavy Fire

When The Night Comes In

Dancing with the Wrong Girl

Who Rides The Tiger

Cold War Love

Testify Or Say Goodbye

Thinking about you could

get me killed

True Blue Kid

Ticket to Rise

Letting Go Of Me


Note: Written by Hells Bells and Mott the Dog.  Mott the Dog and cronies are often to be found supping a few ales amongst frivolous conversation in Jameson’s Bar Nova Park Hotel, Soi AR, North Pattaya.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Molly Hatchet: ‘Justice’ - 3 stars

Mott the Hoople: ‘Mott’ - 5 stars

Black Star Riders: ‘Heavy Fire’ - 5 stars



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