The Baddest Of George Thorogood And The Destroyers (EMI ’92) Rating: B
Despite being a mediocre singer and limited songwriter, George Thorogood and his merry bar band enjoyed a significant amount of success in the eighties, largely due to hard work (i.e. constant touring), a sense of humor, and some stinging slide guitar work from Thorogood. A ravenous fan of John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and other early cornerstones of rock n’ roll, Thorogood always gave his fans their money’s worth by enthusiastically covering said giants. He also wrote some good material himself, in particular the attitude soaked riff rocker “Bad To The Bone,” his signature song. Macho posturing aside, Thorogood is all about good times and lots of alcohol and laughs, while his bandmates were capable of working a crowd into a froth on a hot night. Thorogood himself is a fine guitarist, and his whiskey soaked voice carries with it a gruff reminder of many a late night out on the town. Always more at home on stage where he could feed off a frenzied crowd than within the confines of a studio, this collection nevertheless showcases his most inspired studio moments in a neat little package. It displays his limited charms to good effect on signature covers such as “Move It On Over,” “Who Do You Love,” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” as well as his own "I Drink Alone," "If You Don't Start Drinkin' (I'm Gonna Leave)," and of course, “Bad To The Bone.” The song titles alone attest to Thorogood’s simple-minded party 'till you drop philosophy, which has gotten a bit tired over the years. After all, you can only recycle the same riffs and lyrical themes for so long, and maybe it’s past time that Thorogood grew up a bit. But you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and this collection is a hearty reminder of his wild man spirit, which will always remain well suited for Friday (or Saturday) nights and frat parties.