George Thorogood – Party Of One (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 43:18 minutes | 501 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: Qobuz | Booklet, Front cover | © Concord Records
After 15 million albums sold worldwide, more than 8,000 live shows, and an uncompromising catalog of hits that has certified him as one of rock’s most relentless entertainers, the bad-to-the-bone icon has returned home to Rounder Records to release the first solo record of his 40+ year career. Party Of One is Thorogood’s long-awaited tribute to the artists that shaped his musical consciousness. Produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines – known for his work with John Lee Hooker, Luther Allison and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as several of Thorogood’s biggest discs — the 14 cuts on Party Of One are a potent platter of traditional blues, classics, and modern blues benchmarks.
Essentially, George Thorogood has spent most of his career making the same sort of album over and over again, and if anyone knows how to put together a solid set of barroom-friendly, beer-drinking, hard-rockin’ boogie blues, it’s him. But on his 14th studio album, Thorogood has decided to change things up; Party of One marks the first time he’s made an album without his band the Destroyers, and here he plays a set of blues, country, and folk covers with only his own guitar and harmonica for accompaniment. Thorogood brings out his electric guitar for a few cuts, but most of Party of One is just George and his acoustic, and the bulk of this sounds like it was recorded live in the studio, with the occasional flubbed note left in the mix. Thorogood began his career as a street busker, and in a way, this album plays as a guide to his earliest (and strongest) influences, with several John Lee Hooker tunes dotting the set list along with classic numbers by Willie Dixon, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, and the Rolling Stones, as well as less expected contributions from Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan. The tracks where Thorogood cranks up his amp and gives the tunes his trademark buzzy, growling tone are the most effective, or at very least find him doing what he’s always done best. Thorogood is somewhat less deft as an acoustic guitarist, though despite the occasional missed note he generally fares well unplugged, and while he sometimes strains to hit the high notes, as a vocalist he displays a genuine love for the material and his passion overcomes his limitations. Party of One suggests Thorogood has had his greatest success playing rowdy electric blues-rock for a reason – it’s clearly his strong suit – but 40 years after the release of his debut album, the guy is more than entitled to a change of pace. As a look back at his roots as well as a detour into more subtle territory, it’s an experiment that succeeds far more often than it fails.
01 – I’m A Steady Rollin’ Man (Robert Johnson)
02 – Soft Spot (Gary Nicholson and Allen Shamblin)
03 – Tallahassee Women (John Hammond Jr.)
04 – Wang Dang Doodle (Willie Dixon)
05 – Boogie Chillen (John Lee Hooker)
06 – No Expectations (The Rolling Stones)
07 – Bad News (Johnny Cash)
08 – Down The Highway (Bob Dylan)
09 – Got To Move (Elmore James)
10 – Born With The Blues (Brownie McGhee)
11 – The Sky Is Crying (Elmore James)
12 – The Hookers (If You Miss ‘Im…I Got ‘Im)
13 – Pictures From Life’s Other Side (John Lee Hooker)
14 – One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer (Live From Rockline) [Hank Williams]
Produced by Jim Gaines. Mastered by Paul Blakemore at CMG Mastering.