Double Trouble Live

Molly Hatchet

Epic Records, 1985

http://mollyhatchet.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/18/2004

There are many ways one could look at Double Trouble Live, the seventh release from Molly Hatchet. On one side, it was the first "official" live document from the band, neatly wrapping up close to a decade's worth of rock from a band who should have been the next standard-bearers for the Southern rock genre. (There had been limited-edition bonus discs of live material included on two of their studio albums.) On the other side, one could argue that this set was a "closet-cleaner" for the band, as it was their final release on Epic, and they were coming off of a lackluster effort with The Deed Is Done.

Yet my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Double Trouble Live does help to re-establish Danny Joe Brown and company's reputation as a powerful band who are a force to be reckoned with, even if they do make the near-fatal mistake of choosing to cover "Free Bird" at a time when neither the song needed the exposure nor the band needed to rely on covers.

Okay, the last statement might seem a little hypocrytical, especially when one considers that their take on "Dreams I'll Never See" has always been a high point of Molly Hatchet's discography, and the live take here lives up to the hype. Maybe it's because Molly Hatchet was able to put their own unique stamp on this track, making it sound fresh without appearing to tread too firmly on the toes of The Allman Brothers Band. But their rendition of "Free Bird" sounds like the listener has stumbled onto a bar band trying to whoop the audience up, and it just doesn't work. Let Skynyrd handle Skynyrd; let Hatchet handle Hatchet.

That being said, the bulk of the set (truncated by two songs from the original vinyl - which I ran out of time to listen to) is rather enjoyable, with Brown sounding the most at ease his vocals have ever been, even on the material he originally didn't perform, such as "Bloody Reunion". At times, the band sounds like they're totally in their comfort zone, plowing through songs like "Bounty Hunter," "Gator Country" and "Fall Of The Peacemakers" as if they were born to play this material. This does make Double Trouble Live fun to listen to, even nearly 20 years since these gigs were recorded.

Yet there are still some stumbling zones. "Beatin' The Odds" still sounds more like an incomplete thought than a song, and Brown isn't able to add any support to this track. "Satisfied Man" doesn't translate too well to the stage as one would have hoped, and "Edge Of Sundown" sounds a little too sleepy for my tastes.

If anything, Double Trouble Live serves as a decent, if slightly flawed, summary of Molly Hatchet's career to this point, and it does leave the listener with some hope that there are still many more good days ahead for the band. History would prove, however, that the band's greatest challenges were still waiting for them.

Rating: B-

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© 2004 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.