(5 / 5)
Southern rock fans are in for a real treat here, with the release of this fabulous four-disc box set from the inimitable Molly Hatchet on HNE Recordings.
When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in October 1977, four dates into their “Street Survivors” tour, many felt that southern rock had died.
However, the South did rise again, a little over a year later with the release of the eponymously titled, platinum status debut from Molly Hatchet.
Formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1971 by guitarist Dave Hlubek, and fronted by singer, Danny Joe Brown, Molly Hatchet filled arenas across the States by the time their second LP “Flirtin’ With Disaster” was released in 1979.
By 1980, Danny Joe Brown had been replaced with Jimmy Farrar on vocals, and it was this line-up that appears on the first CD, 1981’s “Take No Prisoners”, of this cracking four-disc set.
Their first three long players had been housed in sleeves painted by famed artist Frank Frazetta. Fantasy illustrator Boris Vallejo painted the art for “Take No Prisoners”.
Bonus tracks here include radio edits of “Lady Luck” and “Power Play”, as well as a memorable run through “Mississippi Queen”, with Molly Hatchet joined by Ted Nugent.
On stage is where this band pulled no punches, and it’s no surprise that their label released exclusive, vinyl only promo LPs to radio stations. CD one here is completed by a show recorded at Lakeland Civic Center Arena in 1980, simply titled “Live”.
By the time 1983’s “No Guts… No Glory” was released, Danny Joe Brown had returned to the ranks, and again the band were produced by Tom Werman. The second CD here now expanded to feature “Kinda Like Love” (Radio Edit) and “Fall Of The Peacemakers” (Short Version) as bonus cuts.
By 1984, Molly Hatchet felt they needed to emulate some of the commercial sheen shown by fellow southern rockers ZZ Top, who’d been catapulted to superstar status with the release of “Eliminator”.
Enlisting the latter’s recording engineer Terry Manning to produce their new record made “The Deed Is Done” more radio-friendly. “The Deed Is Done” has been expanded here to include radio singles “Satisfied Man” (Short Version) and “Stone In Your Heart” (Radio Edit).
Apart from the radio promos and fan-made bootlegs, Molly Hatchet had been ill-served with live releases. Until 1985’s “Double Trouble Live” double LP.
As well as the 80s repertoire, the band were also able to include live versions of older classics “Bounty Hunter”, “Gator Country”, “Flirtin’ With Disaster” and the epic, “Boogie No More”, as well as their own tributes to their fallen Jacksonville brothers; Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird’”, and The Allman Brothers Band’s “Dreams I’ll Never See”.
Music writer Xavier Russell penned the sleeve notes for the set, based on interviews with guitarist Dave Hlubek, as well as producers Tom Werman and Terry Manning. Russell saw the band in concert and met and interviewed them in their prime, and crafts a fine 4000 word piece as part of this set.
By Andy Faith
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’