Take No Prisoners

Molly Hatchet

Epic Records, 1981


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


By the time of their fourth album, Take No Prisoners, Jacksonville, Florida-based Molly Hatchet was undergoing their trial by fire. They had experienced the departure of vocalist Danny Joe Brown after Flirtin' With Disaster, and new vocalist Jimmy Farrar seemed to polarize Molly Hatchet's fans. Add into this the fact that Southern rock was quickly fading in popularity (at least in terms of being the next big flavor of the month), and you had a band who needed to re-position themselves on a course of success.

This is where things are a little confusing, at least for me. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Take No Prisoners is a definite improvement over their previous disc Beatin' The Odds, and when Molly Hatchet succeeds, they do so with flying colors. But their missteps are spectacular failures, leaving this disc (which is currently out of print) a decidedly mixed bag.

First things first, though. Farrar has definitely shown that he was able to grow in his role in the band, as his vocals show marked improvement over Beatin' The Odds. (Too bad this disc would be his swan song with the band.) Listen to tracks like "Lady Luck," "Power Play" or even the all-out rocker "Bloody Reunion" which opens this disc, and you'll know that Farrar feels more at home with this material.

In fact, the material on Take No Prisoners which stands out is truly amazing -- making one wonder why this disc is not available at this particular time. Check out songs like "Dead Giveaway" or "Loss Of Control" and you'll quickly come to realize that Molly Hatchet was most definitely back on track.

Yet despite all of the advances in the music, there are two instances of weakness -- and oh, how weak they are. "Respect Me In The Morning" starts out promising, but quickly dissolves into a he-said-she-said mush of pop tripe, not even worthy of your time. Likewise, I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to start out "Long Tall Sally" as a slow-tempoed plodder, but all interest is lost by the time the band finally kicks this song into high-gear. In retrospect, this was probably not the best cover choice for the band -- in fact, four albums into their career, why did they even need to resort to cover versions of songs?

Yes, these two weak songs threaten to derail the whole album, but the fact is that Take No Prisoners is a more solid effort than these two misfires. If anything, this disc not only cements Molly Hatchet's reputation as a solid rock outfit, but it also should have removed any misgivings about Farrar's position in the band. Regrettably, the latter would not prove to be true, as Farrar left following this disc -- leaving the door open to Brown's return.

Rating: B-

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